Introduction We investigated socioeconomic disparities and the role of the main prognostic factors in receiving major surgical treatment in patients with lung cancer in England.
Methods Our study comprised 31 351 patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in England in 2012. Data from the national population-based cancer registry were linked to Hospital Episode Statistics and National Lung Cancer Audit data to obtain information on stage, performance status and comorbidities, and to identify patients receiving major surgical treatment. To describe the association between prognostic factors and surgery, we performed two different analyses: one using multivariable logistic regression and one estimating cause-specific hazards for death and surgery. In both analyses, we used multiple imputation to deal with missing data.
Results We showed strong evidence that the comorbidities ‘congestive heart failure’, ‘cerebrovascular disease’ and ‘chronic obstructive pulmonary disease’ reduced the receipt of surgery in early stage patients. We also observed gender differences and substantial age differences in the receipt of surgery. Despite accounting for sex, age at diagnosis, comorbidities, stage at diagnosis, performance status and indication of having had a PET-CT scan, the socioeconomic differences persisted in both analyses: more deprived people had lower odds and lower rates of receiving surgery in early stage lung cancer.
Discussion Comorbidities play an important role in whether patients undergo surgery, but do not completely explain the socioeconomic difference observed in early stage patients. Future work investigating access to and distance from specialist hospitals, as well as patient perceptions and patient choice in receiving surgery, could help disentangle these persistent socioeconomic inequalities.
- lung cancer
- surgical treatment
- population-based data
- socioeconomic inequalities
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