Primary care physician supply and colorectal cancer

J Fam Pract. 2001 Dec;50(12):1027-31.


Objectives: Our goal was to determine if increasing primary care physician supply was associated with lower incidence and mortality rates for colorectal cancer.

Study design: We performed an ecologic study of Florida's 67 counties, using data from the state tumor registry and the American Medical Association physician masterfile.

Population: Florida residents were included.

Outcomes measured: We measured age-adjusted colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates for Florida's 67 counties during the period 1993 to 1995.

Results: Increasing primary care physician supply was negatively correlated with both colorectal cancer (CC) incidence (CC = -0.46; P < .0001) and mortality rates (CC = -0.29; P =.02). In linear regression that controlled for other county characteristics, each 1% increase in the proportion of county physicians who were in primary care specialties was associated with a corresponding reduction in colorectal cancer incidence of 0.25 cases per 100,000 (P < .0001) and a reduction in colorectal cancer mortality of 0.08 cases per 100,000 (P =.0008).

Conclusions: Incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer decreased in Florida counties that had an increased supply of primary care physicians. This suggests that a balanced work force may achieve better health outcomes.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Family Practice* / methods
  • Female
  • Florida / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Physicians, Family / supply & distribution*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends
  • Primary Health Care* / methods
  • Probability
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Workforce