Characteristics of cancer diagnoses and staging in South Western Victoria: a rural perspective.
OBJECTIVE: Australian states and territories have legislation mandating reporting of cancer diagnoses; however, tumour stage at diagnosis, treatment plan and associated outcomes are not routinely recorded in cancer registries for all tumour types. This study describes the Evaluation of Cancer Outcomes study that collects detailed information for patients diagnosed with cancer in south-western Victoria. DESIGN: Retrospective data collection. SETTING: Population based. PARTICIPANTS: New cancer patients within the Barwon South Western region. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Cancer incidence and staging data for a regional and rural area. RESULTS: In 2009, there were 1778 primary tumours. Prominent tumour streams included prostate, breast, colon, lung, lymphoma, melanoma and rectum. Stage at diagnosis was recorded for more than 50% of patients for the tumour streams of testis, breast, bowel, renal, lung, and head and neck. Patients reporting to health centres with an on-site oncologist as part of their team had a higher rate of staging recorded at diagnosis (48.0 versus 36.9%, P=0.01). More women (55.4%) than men (41.4%) had stage-recorded. CONCLUSION: The Evaluation of Cancer Outcomes study is an important initiative that collects information about newly diagnosed cases of cancer more detailed than is currently collected by the Cancer Council of Victoria. Future studies will build on this base dataset and provide valuable insight into the regional and rural experience of treatment pathways after diagnosis. More work is needed to bring more services to our rural patients, or more education is needed to encourage the recording of tumour staging.
Banks, P; Matheson, LM; Morrissy, K; Olesen, I; Pitson, G; Chapman, A; Ashley, DM; Henry, MJ
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