Trends and variation in the management of oesophagogastric cancer patients: a population-based survey

BMC Health Serv Res. 2009 Dec 15:9:231. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-9-231.


Background: Previous evidence indicates potential variation in the quality of care of cancer patients. We aimed to examine whether recent changes in the treatment of oesophagogastric cancers have been distributed equally among different patient subgroups.

Methods: We analysed population-based cancer registry data about the treatment patterning of oesophagogastric cancer (other than oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma) during 1995-2006.

Results: There were 14,077 patients aged > or =40 years (69% men). There was only limited information on stage, and no information on co-morbidity status. During successive triennia, curative surgery use decreased from 28% to 20% (p < 0.001) whilst chemotherapy use increased from 9% to 30% (p < 0.001). Use of palliative surgery and of radiotherapy increased significantly but modestly (7% to 10%, and 9% to 11%, respectively). In multivariable logistic regression adjusting for age group, gender, diagnosis period and tumour type, curative surgery and chemotherapy were used less frequently in more deprived patients [per increasing deprivation group Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.96, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.93-0.99, and OR = 0.90, 95%CI 0.87-0.93, respectively, p < 0.001 for both)]. Chemotherapy was also used less frequently in women (OR = 0.76, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: During the study period, curative surgery decreased by a third and chemotherapy use increased by more than three-fold, reflecting improvements in the appropriateness and quality of management, but chemotherapy use, in particular, was unequal, both by socioeconomic status and gender.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Disease
  • Disease Management
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Antineoplastic Agents