Introduction: In the fall of 2004, adjuvant chemotherapy for early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients was approved for coverage by the Alberta Cancer Board, the provincial agency responsible for systemic therapy in the province of Alberta. The purpose of this study was to measure the proportion of early stage NSCLC patients diagnosed between 2004 and 2006 that received surgery and subsequently had a consult with an oncologist at a cancer facility, and to identify factors related to receiving surgery and having a consult that could be addressed.
Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted. All patients diagnosed with stage IB, IIA, or IIB NSCLC in Alberta from 2004 to 2006 were identified from the Alberta cancer registry. Date of definitive surgery, gender, age at diagnosis, and area of residence were also obtained from the cancer registry and evaluated as predictors for surgery and oncology consult. Date of consult with an oncologist was obtained from the electronic medical record of the Alberta Cancer Board.
Results: There were 561 patients diagnosed with stage IB-IIB NSCLC from 2004 to 2006, 352 of whom had surgery and 255 of whom subsequently had a consult with an oncologist. Age and residence at diagnosis were both strongly associated with the likelihood of receiving surgery and the likelihood of attending a consult with an oncologist.
Discussion: Several areas of further research have been identified by this study including age and rural residence on treatment/referral patterns.