live as long as urban patients.
That may be due to a number of factors, such as timely access to follow-up chemotherapy after their first round of cancer treatment, according to the researchers, who are with SWOG, the international cancer clinical trials network funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
“These findings were a surprise, since we thought we might find the same disparities others had found,” said study co-leader Joseph Unger. He is a SWOG biostatistician and health services researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
“But clinical trials are a key difference here. In trials, patients are uniformly assessed, treated, and followed under a strict, guideline-driven protocol. This suggests that giving people with cancer access to uniform treatment strategies could help resolve the disparities in outcomes that we see between rural and urban patients,” Unger said in a SWOG news release.
“If people diagnosed with cancer, regardless of where they live, receive similar care and have similar outcomes, then a reasonable inference is that the best way to improve outcomes for rural patients is to improve their access to quality care,” Unger concluded.
SOURCE: SWOG, news release, Aug. 17, 2018