Going the Distance: Travel Time’s Influence on Radiation Treatment for NH Prostate Cancer Patients

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

In the largely rural state of New Hampshire, there is a concern that potential longer travel times to radiation centers may discourage men with prostate cancer from pursuing daily external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) treatment, which can often last two months or more. A new Dartmouth study led by urologist Elias Hyams, MD, assistant professor of surgery at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine shows that this concern may not be necessary. “We were seeking to understand whether travel time to a radiation center affected decisions to proceed with EBRT vs. surgery for treatment of localized prostate cancer” Hyams explains. “We found that longer travel time to a radiation facility was not associated with lower utilization of EBRT compared to single trip therapies, primarily surgery. Most men had reasonable geographic access to a radiation center (87 percent within a 30-minute drive), likely due to population density in the southern portion of the state.” Their study, “Does Travel Time to a Radiation Facility Impact Patient Decision-Making Regarding Treatment for Prostate Cancer? A Study of the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry” was recently published in The Journal of Rural Health.

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