Background: Greater travel time to cancer care has been identified as a potential barrier to care as well as associated with worse health outcomes. While rural cancer patients have been shown to travel farther for care, it is not known what patient, facility, and clinical characteristics may differentially be associated with greater roundtrip travel times for cancer patients by rurality of residence. Identifying these factors will help providers understand which patients may be most in need of resources to assist with travel. Methods: Using 2010-2014 Pennsylvania Cancer Registry data, we examined the association between patient, facility, and clinical characteristics with roundtrip patient travel time using multivariate linear regression models. We then estimated separate models by rural residence based on the Rural-Urban Continuum Code (RUCC) of a patient's county of residence at diagnosis to understand how the association of each factor with travel time may vary for patients separated into metro residents (RUCC 1-3); and two categories of non-metro residents (RUCC 4-6) and (RUCC 7-9). Results: In our sample (n = 197,498), we document large differences in mean roundtrip travel time - mean 41.5 min for RUCC 1-3 patients vs. 128.9 min for RUCC 7-9 patients. We show cervical/uterine and ovarian cancer patients travel significantly farther; as do patients traveling to higher volume and higher-ranked hospitals. Conclusions: To better understand patient travel burden, providers need to understand that factors predicting longer travel time may vary by rurality of patient residence and cancer type.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health