Background: Isometric paravertebral muscle training (IPMT) may improve mobility, pain, and quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients with spinal metastases. However, this regimen remains unproven in patients with unstable spinal metastases (USM), a population at high risk for clinical exacerbation with such interventions. Thus, we conducted this exploratory, non-blinded, randomized controlled trial (NCT02847754) to evaluate the safety/feasibility of IPMT and secondarily assess pain, bone density, pathologic fracture rate, and QOL.
Methods: All patients had histologically/radiologically confirmed USM (per Taneichi score) and underwent non-operative management with 5–10 fractions of palliative radiotherapy (RT). Randomization (1:1) groups were IPMT (intervention, INT) or muscle relaxation (control, CON); both lasted 15 min/day and started concurrently with radiotherapy. The primary endpoint was feasibility (completion of training programs three months post-RT). Secondary endpoints were pain response (Visual Analog Scale) and opioid consumption, bone density and pathologic fracture rate, and QOL (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, EORTC questionnaires).
Results: Sixty patients were randomized and 56 received protocol therapy. Mean survival in both groups was 4.4 months. There were no adverse events with either training regimen. Altogether, =80% of the planned sessions were completed by 55% (n = 16/29) in CON and 67% (n = 18/27) in INT. Regarding the post-radiotherapy home-based training, =80% of planned sessions were completed by 64% (n = 9/14) of the INT cohort. There were no differences in pain scores, opioid consumption, or bone density between arms (p > 0.05 for all). No difference was observed between groups regarding new pathological fractures (INT: n = 1 vs. CON: n = 3) after three months (p = 0.419). There were no QOL differences between arms (all parameters p > 0.05).
Conclusions: IPMT is potentially feasible for high-risk USM patients. Future trials adequately powered for relevant endpoints are thus recommended.
INTRODUCTION: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the palliative advanced practice radiation therapy (APRT) role with respect to the impact on waiting times for patients from referral to radiation treatment delivery, the ability of the APRT to define palliative radiation therapy fields and patient satisfaction. The evaluation of the impact of the APRT role and referral pathway on patient waiting times has been previously published.
METHODS: Patients were allocated to two different pathways; APRT and standard. Patients in the APRT pathway had their radiotherapy treatment managed by the APRT including defining their palliative fields blinded to the radiation oncologist (RO).
RESULTS: Of the 150 palliative patients, 94 had their radiation therapy managed by the APRT and 56 were managed through the standard pathway. 82/92 APRT defined fields were accepted by the RO.
CONCLUSIONS: Inter-observer variability between the APRT and the RO in defining palliative radiation therapy fields is similar to that reported in the literature between clinicians. With previously published reduced wait times from referral to treatment for palliative patients, the establishment of the APRT role is justified.
Shortly after radiotherapy was first used in the treatment of cancer in the late 1800s, adistinction was created between radical or curative radiotherapy and palliative radio-therapy with markedly divergent goals. In contrast with radical radiotherapy, in whichthe treatment goal is cure of cancer, palliative radiotherapy focuses on the applicationof radiotherapy to improve symptoms, with the goal of maximizing quality of life.
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BACKGROUND: Bone metastases in the lower spine and pelvis are effectively palliated with radiotherapy (RT), though this can come with side effects such as radiation induced nausea and vomiting (RINV). We hypothesize that high rates of RINV occur in part because of the widespread use of inexpensive simple unplanned palliative radiotherapy (SUPR), over more complex and resource intensive 3D conformal RT, such as volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT).
METHODS: This is a randomized, multi-centre phase III trial of SUPR versus VMAT. We will accrue 250 patients to assess the difference in patient-reported RINV. This study is powered to detect a difference in quality of life between patients treated with VMAT vs. SUPR.
DISCUSSION: This trial will determine if VMAT reduces early toxicity compared to SUPR and may provide justification for this more resource-intensive and costly form of RT.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT03694015 . Date of registration: October 3, 2018.
BACKGROUND/AIM: The aim of this study was to review the outcomes of palliative radiotherapy (RT) for hematuria treated with modern RT techniques.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study. The primary endpoint was symptom response rate. Secondary endpoints included symptom recurrence rate, overall survival and treatment-related toxicity.
RESULTS: Median age was 82 years (range=36-98 years). Median biologically effective dose (BED) was 36 Gy. Sixty-seven percent of patients (39/58) responded to RT. The median survival duration was 5.6 months (range=0.02-47.6 months). One third (13/39) of responders had recurrence of hematuria. Competing Risk regression with death as the competing risk showed that patients treated with low BED regimen (<36 Gy) had 5.76 times the hazard of recurrence compared to high BED regimen (>36 Gy) (p=0.01). One patient (2%) developed grade 3 nausea and vomiting which required admission for intravenous hydration.
CONCLUSION: BED regimens should be recommended as they are associated with a significantly lower rate of recurrent hematuria.
INTRODUCTION: A clinical specialist radiation therapist (CSRT) position in palliative radiation therapy (RT) was created at our institution. Herein, we report the details of the CSRT's orientation, training, and support program.
METHODS: We performed an audit and needs assessment of palliative RT services at our centre. This identified opportunities for improvement that could be facilitated by the CSRT. We defined the CSRT job description including priority responsibilities: (1) optimizing palliative RT services for outpatients and developing a rapid access palliative RT program, (2) optimizing palliative RT services for inpatients at our institution, (3) improving links to community physicians and hospitals caring for patients with advanced cancers. We formed a core resource team to provide ongoing support and to design and implement the orientation and training program. The program involved training in clerical and administrative systems as well as treatment planning and physics training relevant to palliative RT. Clinical placements at several hospitals were arranged in both inpatient and outpatient settings. The CSRT worked with radiation and medical oncologists, palliative care specialists, nurse practitioners, hospitalists, and social workers.
RESULTS: Through clinical placements and self-directed learning, the CSRT gained knowledge and competencies in patient care coordination, history taking and physical examination, clinical oncology practice including the evidence-based use of palliative RT and symptom control measures, treatment planning, communication, patient advocacy, and advance care planning. We provided practice resources including office space and a planning station, educational opportunities including workshops in palliative and psychosocial care, and research opportunities including methodologic and research ethics training.
DISCUSSION: To our knowledge, this is the first detailed report of its kind for an advanced practice radiation therapy role. We hope our report will inform the design and implementation of programs elsewhere to help prepare individuals for similar roles in palliative RT.
CONCLUSION: The CSRT in palliative RT at our institution underwent a comprehensive orientation and training program. Institutions with similar CSRT positions are encouraged to report the details of their own programs.
Radiotherapy (RT) is a cornerstone in the management of advanced stage III and stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Despite international guidelines, clinical practice remains heterogeneous. Additionally, the advent of stereotactic ablative RT (SABR) and new systemic treatments such as immunotherapy have shaken up dogmas in the approach of these patients. This review will focus on palliative thoracic RT for NSCLC but will also discuss the role of stereotactic radiotherapy, endobronchial brachytherapy (EBB), the interest of concomitant treatments (chemotherapy and immunotherapy), and the role of RT in lung cancer emergencies with palliative intent.
PURPOSE: The aim of this review was to examine efficacy of palliative interventional radiotherapy (IRT) in esophageal cancer compared with other treatment in terms of dysphagia-free survival (DyFS) and safety.
METHODS AND MATERIAL: A systematic research using PubMed, Scopus, and Cochrane library was performed to identify full articles evaluating the efficacy of IRT as palliation in patients with esophageal cancer. ClinicalTrials.gov was searched for ongoing or recently completed trials, and PROSPERO was searched for ongoing or recently completed systematic reviews. We analyzed only clinical study as full text of patients with symptomatic esophageal cancer treated with IRT alone or in combination with other treatment. Conference paper, survey, letter, editorial, book chapter, and review were excluded. Time restriction (1990-2018) as concerns the years of the publication was considered. The primary outcome was the duration of dysphagia relief (DyFS) after brachytherapy vs. other treatment (external-beam radiotherapy, photodynamic therapy, argon plasma coagulation, stent, and laser) during followup. Secondary outcomes included overall survival and adverse event rates.
RESULTS: The literature search resulted in 554 articles. Sixty-six articles were assessed via full text for eligibility. Of these, 59 articles were excluded for various reasons, leaving seven randomized studies. The number of evaluated patients was 905 patients, and median age was 70.5 years. In the IRT group, the median DyFS was 99 days, the most relevant G3-G4 toxicity were fistula development and stenosis reported, respectively, in 8.3% and 12.2%; the overall median survival was 175.5 days.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we provided evidence-based support that IRT is an effective and safe treatment option; therefore, its underuse is no longer justified.
Purpose: Patients with locally advanced and metastatic esophageal cancer are usually affected by cancer-related symptoms, which worsen their performance status and quality of life. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of short-course accelerated radiation therapy for symptomatic palliation in a low resourced setting where only a 2-dimensional radiation therapy (RT) technique was available.
Methods and Materials: A phase II trial based on Simon’s 2-stage design was planned. A total dose of 12 Gy in 4 fractions, twice per day, over 2 days, =8 hours apart, using a 2-dimensional conventional RT technique was delivered with a Cobalt 60 unit (Equinox, Best Theratronics, Ottawa, Ontario). Symptoms were graded using the International Atomic Energy Agency scoring system.
Results: A total of 17 patients were treated (male/female = 10/7; median age, 50.0 years; range, 27-78 years; histology: 6 adenocarcinomas and 11 squamous cell carcinomas; tumor site: 4 gastresophageal junction and 13 esophagus). The most frequent baseline symptoms were dysphagia or regurgitation (100%), odynophagia (76%), and chest or back pain (53%). At 1 month after RT, all patients were alive with palliative response rates (complete plus partial) for dysphagia, regurgitation, odynophagia, and chest or back pain of 76%, 82%, 69%, and 56%, respectively. No patients presented acute =G3 toxicity.
Conclusions: Short-course accelerated radiation therapy treatment, planned and delivered using a conventional 2-dimensional RT technique, was effective and well tolerated for the symptomatic palliation of locally advanced or metastatic esophageal cancer. This schedule may be useful for RT centers in developing countries to reduce treatment times, costs, and patient waiting times before treatment.
PURPOSE: We aimed to explore the value of palliative resection or radiation of primary tumor for metastatic esophageal cancer (EC) patients.
METHODS: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database was used for identifying metastatic EC patients. The patients were divided into resection and nonresection groups. And patients without resection were divided into radiation and nonradiation groups. Propensity score matching (PSM) analyses were adopted to reduce the baseline differences between the groups. Cancer specific survivals (CSSs) and overall survivals (OSs) were compared by Kaplan-Meier (K-M) curves. Multivariable analyses by COX proportion hazards model were performed to identify risk factors for CSS and OS. Predictive nomograms were conducted according to both postoperative factors and preoperative factors.
RESULTS: A total of 7982 metastatic EC patients were selected for our analyses. After PSM, 978 patients were included in the survival analyses comparing palliative resection and nonresection. The CSS and OS for patients underwent palliative resection were significantly longer than those without resection (median CSS: 21 months vs 7 months, P < .001; median OS: 20 months vs 7 months, P < .001). In the overall population without resection, 654 patients were matched for radiation and nonradiation groups. And K-M curves showed that patients with radiation had longer CSS and OS than those without radiation (median CSS: 11 months vs 6 months, P < .001; median OS: 10 months vs 6 months, P < .001). Nomograms were generated for prediction of 1-, 2-, and 3-year CSS and OS. All C-indexes implied moderate discrimination and accuracy. And all nomograms had good calibration.
CONCLUSION: Palliative resection or radiation of primary tumor could prolong CSS and OS of metastatic EC patients.
PURPOSE: Clinical data warehouses (cDWHs) and cancer registry databases have enabled researchers to conduct clinical analytics with structured electronic health record data. However, these secondary electronic health record sources are often limited in scope because they do not capture the clinical information needed to understand complex clinical questions. Thus, we evaluated the effect of additional curation of data.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Clinical data sets of 149 patients with prostate cancer with biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy treated with salvage or palliative radiotherapy between 2008 and 2017 from our institutional cDWH and Gießener Tumor Documentation System (GTDS) were linked (data warehouse [DWH] population) for analyzing treatment outcomes. The linked data sets were manually curated (manual postprocessing [MPP], eg, incorporate data from established urologists). The primary outcomes were the impact on data quality of treatment outcomes and the time spent on data curation.
RESULTS: We obtained significantly more information on disease progression and patient survival (nonsignificant) when using curated data; the biochemical progression-free survival rate at 5 years for the DWH and DWH plus MPP populations was 63% v 30% (P = .001) and the overall survival rate was 84% v 81% (P = .479), respectively. The median deviation of completeness and the median concordance of clinical data values were 21.47% (range, 55.38%-100%) and 95.00% (range, 63.40%-100%), respectively. We spent 121 hours, 42 minutes on data curation, with most time required for laboratory values, accounting, for a total of 45 hours, 20 minutes (37.26%).
CONCLUSION: Our analysis indicates that time-to-event outcomes for patients with prostate cancer cannot be extracted using secondary data sources (cDWH plus GTDS) only. Outcomes data differed between the electronic data (DWH) and the second manual extraction (DWH plus MPP) because of a lack of follow-up data. When using such unique database resources, only baseline characteristics can reliably be extracted.
BACKGROUND: palliative radiotherapy can improve quality of life for patients who are symptomatic of advanced cancers. However, this treatment modality is underused and is often mistimed, which negates its potential benefit.
AIM: the aim of this study was to assess nursing knowledge of palliative radiotherapy in the context of caring for patients with a cancer diagnosis.
METHODS: a quantitative method of research was employed using a questionnaire to assess palliative radiotherapy knowledge among a purposive sample of 162 oncology and palliative care nurses.
FINDINGS: the response rate was 48.14%. More than half of respondents reported their knowledge of radiotherapy as insufficient for their practice and almost all agreed they would benefit from more education.
CONCLUSION: nurses require more training to identify when palliative radiotherapy would be an effective symptom control option; specific areas of focus for developing future radiotherapy educational programmes are highlighted.
Background: Sarcomas are rare and heterogeneous tumours with a large proportion of patients requiring palliative intervention. They are regarded as relatively radioresistant and therefore achieving good palliation with radiation may require larger doses than for more common solid tumour types. Limited data is available regarding appropriate palliative radiotherapy dose fractionation. This case series aims to assess the effectiveness of radiotherapy in providing symptomatic improvement for advanced sarcomas.
Method: Data was retrospectively collected for patients treated with palliative radiotherapy between July 2010 and April 2019 at one institution. The primary outcome was documented symptomatic improvement following radiotherapy. Secondary outcome was overall survival.
Results: One hundred and five patients had a total of 137 sites treated using 25 different dose fractionation schedules. The median patient age was 54 (range 8–90) years. Treated sites included 114 soft tissue and 23 bone sarcomas. Data on symptomatic improvement was available in 56% and 67% of cases respectively. A total of 70% of soft tissue and 55% of bone sarcoma patients reported symptomatic improvement. Symptomatic response rates appeared to increase to a biological effective dose (BED) of 50Grey4 (Gy4) (alpha beta ratio (a/ß) = 4 for tumour) but did not continue to improve with further rises in dose beyond this.
onclusion: Palliative radiotherapy offers symptomatic improvement for sarcoma patients with two-thirds of patients reporting reduction in symptoms. These results are limited by the heterogeneous study population including different sarcoma subtypes each with a probable different radio-sensitivity, treated with different radiotherapy schedules. Further prospective data collection is needed considering sarcoma subtype radio-sensitivity, to determine appropriate palliative dose fractionation schedules.
Background: As patients' accurate understanding of their prognosis is essential for informed end-of-life planning, identifying associated factors is important.
Objective: We examine if receiving palliative chemotherapy or radiation, and the perception of those treatments as curative or noncurative, is associated with prognostic understanding.
Design: Cross-sectional analyses from a multisite, observational study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients with advanced cancers refractory to at least one chemotherapy regimen (N = 334).
Measurements: In structured interviews, patients reported whether they were receiving chemotherapy or radiation, and whether its intent was curative or not. Their responses were categorized into three groups: patients not receiving chemotherapy/radiation (no cancer treatment group); patients receiving chemotherapy/radiation and misperceiving it as curative (treatment misperception group); and patients receiving chemotherapy/radiation and accurately perceiving it as noncurative (accurate treatment perception group). Patients also reported on various aspects of their prognostic understanding (e.g., life expectancy).
Results: Eighty-six percent of the sample was receiving chemotherapy or radiation; of those, 16.7% reported the purpose of treatment to be curative. The no-treatment group had higher prognostic understanding scores compared with the treatment misperception group (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 5.00, p < 0.001). However, the accurate treatment perception group had the highest prognostic understanding scores in comparison to the no-treatment group (AOR = 2.04, p < 0.05) and the treatment misperception group (AOR = 10.19, p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Depending on patient perceptions of curative intent, receipt of palliative chemotherapy or radiation is associated with better or worse prognostic understanding. Research should examine if enhancing patients' understanding of treatment intent can improve accurate prognostic expectations.
OBJECTIVES: Palliative radiation therapy (pRT) is often used to improve quality of life for pediatric patients. Though palliative doses are generally lower than those for cure, pRT may still introduce undesirable effects. The decision to pursue additional therapy for a child may be challenging and depends on parents' knowledge and expectations. The goal of this study was to explore parental perceptions of pRT.
METHODS: Twenty-eight children referred for pRT were enrolled in our prospective study. Parents were counseled regarding the indication and expected outcomes. They then completed a series of questionnaires to assess their understanding of pRT, side effects that their child experienced, and how the outcomes compared to their expectations.
RESULTS: The majority of parents listed pain relief and addressing new disease as the main indication for pRT. When asked about expectations, the majority chose improvement in quality of life and prolongation of their child's life. Interestingly, 32% of parents expected pRT to cure their child's disease. Most patients undergoing pRT did not experience any adverse symptoms. The outcomes of pRT in the majority of cases exceeded parental expectations.
CONCLUSION: Improved quality of life with pRT sometimes blurs the distinction between palliation and cure. We found that most parents understand the aim to improve quality of life, although a proportion of parents perceived pRT as a cure to their child's disease. Despite this, the majority of parents reported that the outcome of the pRT course exceeded their expectations. We postulate that parents derive comfort from pursuing active treatment.
PURPOSE: The main goal of palliative radiotherapy is to reduce patient's discomfort. But sometimes patients do not receive any benefits from this treatment because of rapid worsening of their general condition. This prospective monocentric study assessed the effective delivery of palliative radiotherapy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: From 1st December 2015 to 29th February 2016, all consecutive patients receiving palliative radiotherapy in our hospital were included. The primary endpoint was the effective delivery of palliative radiotherapy according to the initial prescription (total dose, overall treatment time and fractionation). The secondary endpoints were the number of treatment breaks, the clinical benefit, the number of deaths and the delays for admission in the palliative care unit.
RESULTS: Fifty-nine patients were included and 64 treatments were analysed. The treatment sites were: bone (70.3%) and brain (21.9%). The treatment goals were: pain control only (43.8%), decompression only (21.9%), pain control and decompression (32.8%), haemostatic aim (1.6%). Palliative treatment was achieved in 57 cases (89%). Temporary interruption of the radiotherapy treatment was necessary in six cases (9.4%; three for medical reason, three for logistic reason). The main reason of permanent interruption was worsening of performance status (seven cases). Palliation of symptoms (complete or partial responses) was obtained in 44 cases (68.8%). Seven patients (11.9%) died during the month after the end of the treatment. No delay or cancellation for admission in the palliative care unit were observed.
CONCLUSION: Palliative radiotherapy was completed as originally planned in 51 cases (79.9%) with a clinical benefit for 44 cases (68.8%). Radiation therapy must not be neglected as a palliative treatment at the end-of-life.
PURPOSE: To evaluate the use of single-fraction palliative radiotherapy (SFRT) for the management of bone metastases (BM) in Victoria, Australia
METHODS AND MATERIALS: This is a population-based cohort of cancer patients who received RT for BM between 2012 and 2017 as captured in the Victorian Radiotherapy Minimum Data Set (VRMDS). The primary outcome was proportion of SFRT use. The Cochrane-Armitage test for trend was used to evaluate changes in practice over time. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with SFRT use.
RESULTS: Of the 18,158 courses of RT for BM delivered in a total of 10,956 patients, 17% were SFRT. There was no significant change in SFRT use over time, from 18% in 2012 to 19% in 2017 (P=0.07). SFRT was less commonly given to skull (4%) and spine (14%), compared to shoulder (37%) and ribs (53%). Patients with lung cancer (21%) were most likely to receive SFRT, followed by those with prostate cancers (18%) and gastrointestinal cancers (16%). Patients from regional/remote areas were more likely to have SFRT compared to those in major cities (22% vs. 16%, P<0.001). Patients treated in public institutions were more likely to have SFRT compared to those treated in private institutions (22% vs. 10%, P<0.001). In multivariable analyses, increasing age, lung cancer, living in regional/remote areas, and being treated in public institutions were factors independently associated with increased likelihood of receiving SFRT.
CONCLUSIONS: SFRT appears under-utilized for BM in Australia over time, with variation in practice by patient, tumor, geographical and institutional provider factors.
BACKGROUND: Radiotherapy (RT) is a mainstay of oncology treatment in both curative and palliative situations. With respect to palliative and supportive care, RT improves local control of disease and relieves symptoms, particularly pain, compression of surrounding structures, and/or bleeding. The aim here was to evaluate the effects and toxicity of palliative RT in our department from April 2015 to April 2018.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: During this period, 338 cases received palliative RT, representing approximately one third of indications for this treatment method. We evaluated selected subgroups of patients: those with advanced lung cancer, bone metastases, or soft tissue metastases. Patients were irradiated by the IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) technique using the TomoTherapy HD (Accuray, USA) platform.
RESULTS: Palliative RT for primary lung cancer was performed for 29 patients. Of these, symptoms were relieved in 22 patients (76%) and local control (confirmed by imaging) was achieved in 19 patients (66%). Treatment-related toxicity was acceptable. Overall, 104 patients received irradiation for bone metastases; pain relief was achieved in more than 75% of cases. Another 71 patients were irradiated to treat soft tissue metastases; symptoms were relieved in 60% of cases. Treatment-related toxicity in our patients was lower than reported previously, suggesting improved quality of life for patients irradiated using modern RT technologies.
CONCLUSION: Palliative RT provided excellent symptom control in our patients, with minimal toxicity. Thus, RT is an effective and easy-to-use method for many palliative indications.
CONTEXT: Advanced cancer patients have unrecognized gaps in their understanding about palliative radiation therapy (PRT).
OBJECTIVES: To build a video decision aid for hospitalized patients with advanced cancer referred for PRT and prospectively test its efficacy in reducing decisional uncertainty, improving knowledge, increasing treatment readiness and readiness for palliative care consultation, and its acceptability among patients.
METHODS: Forty patients with advanced cancer hospitalized at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center watched a video decision aid about PRT and palliative care. Patients' conceptual and logistical knowledge of PRT, decisional uncertainty, treatment readiness, and readiness for palliative care consultation were assessed before and after watching the video with a 6-item knowledge survey, the decisional uncertainty subscale of the Decisional Conflict Scale, and Likert instruments to assess readiness to accept radiation treatment and/or palliative care consultation, respectively. A post-video survey assessed the video's acceptability among patients.
RESULTS: After watching the video, decisional uncertainty was reduced (28.3 vs. 21.7, p=0.02); knowledge of PRT improved (60.4 vs. 88.3, p<0.001); and PRT readiness increased (2.0 vs. 1.3, p=0.04). Readiness for palliative care consultation was unchanged (p=0.58). Patients felt very comfortable (70%) watching the video and would highly recommend it (75%) to others.
CONCLUSION: Among hospitalized patients with advanced cancer, a video decision aid reduced decisional uncertainty, improved knowledge of PRT, increased readiness for PRT, and was well-received by patient viewers.
Aims: The cancer burden among Circumpolar Inuit is high. Palliative radiotherapy is a mainstay treatment for controlling symptoms of advanced cancers, but Inuit are required to travel far distances to access this service. Access to palliative radiotherapy and time away from home communities have not been explored among this population. We sought to describe the time intervals from symptom onset to the start of palliative radiotherapy among Canadian Inuit patients treated at The Ottawa Hospital (TOH).
Materials and methods: A retrospective review of Inuit patients from Nunavut treated with radiotherapy between 2005 and 2014 at TOH.
Results: Of a total of 152 radiotherapy patients, 88 (58%) were treated palliatively. Of these, 61 (70%) had stage IV disease at diagnosis and 63 (72%) had lung cancer. The median time from referral for specialist care to the patient's first flight to Ottawa was 4 days (range 0–97). The median length of treatment was 7 days (range 0–27), but patients spent a median of 64.5 days (range 14–633) in Ottawa. The median survival from the date of pathological diagnosis was 5.2 months.
Conclusions: Most Inuit radiotherapy patients at TOH were treated palliatively. Patients were brought from Nunavut relatively quickly for specialist care, which is encouraging. However, patients spent over 2 months away from home, in the context of a median survival of less than 6 months. Opportunities for improvement include both provider and system-level changes, which may be applicable to other Circumpolar Inuit regions across Europe and North America.