Not All Rectal Cancer Patients Are Getting Necessary Care

Posted by Southlake on November 22nd, 2016

It is estimated that some 39,000 Americans will be diagnosed with rectal cancer in the coming year. Some of these patients will find they have locally advanced forms of the disease, which typically calls for very specific treatments. When treatment protocols are followed, patients are more likely to enjoy positive outcomes. Unfortunately, researchers are finding that many rectal cancer patients do not receive the treatment required to help them battle the disease with a higher degree of success.

The alarming findings comes from an analysis of national data regarding the recommended treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer.

Patients are advised to undergo chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery to help ensure rectal cancer is stopped in its tracks. While not always successful, this treatment sequence offers patients the best possible outcomes in most cases. The analysis found, however, that only about 55 percent of eligible patients underwent the treatment between 2010 and 2012. That number was up from 43 percent in 2004-06. The numbers, however, shed light on a disturbingly low compliance rate that could be increasing morbidity risks.

Researchers have not fully explored the reasons behind the numbers, but have identified some factors that contribute to them. Among the many reasons patients fail to follow through with recommended treatments are:

  • A lack of private insurance – The two-pronged treatment can be a costly one to undertake. Despite its benefits, people without insurance may shy away from taking on the financial obligation.
  • Facility choice – Some patients who are treated in facilities with low or medium volumes of such cases seem to be failing to follow through. The reasons that prompt this are not clear.
  • Ethnicity – People who are non-white have a lower compliance rate. The reasons are also not clear.
  • Educational levels – Patients who are from poorly educated neighborhoods are not following through with treatments. Again, the reasons behind this have not been delved into.

Colorectal cancers, which include cancers of the rectum and colon, are among the most treatable when they are detected early. Screening procedures, such as the colonoscopy, enable doctors to catch this form of cancer before it has become invasive in many cases. Colon and rectal cancers are a concern for men and women alike with an estimated 49,000 people dying annually from this cause. Anyone who is concerned about colorectal cancer risks is urged to talk with a healthcare provider. Simple preventative measures and routine screening create a powerful combination for fighting this type of cancer.

About Author

Southlake Oncology, a Choice Cancer Care Treatment Center, located in the Southlake and Grapevine area, is a community-focused oncology practice that delivers exceptional care to North Texas cancer patients with a variety of cancer diagnoses and blood disorders.

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