Disparities in Use of Gynecologic Oncologists for Women with Ovarian Cancer in the United States

Authors


Address correspondence to Maria Pisu, Ph.D., Division of Preventive Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1720 2nd Ave South, MT 636, Birmingham, AL 35294-4410; e-mail: mpisu@uab.edu.

Abstract

Objective

To examine disparities in utilization of gynecologic oncologists (GOs) across race and other sociodemographic factors for women with ovarian cancer.

Data Sources

Obtained SEER-Medicare linked dataset for 4,233 non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic African American, Hispanic of any race, and Non-Hispanic Asian women aged ≥66 years old diagnosed with ovarian cancer during 2000–2002 from 17 SEER registries. Physician specialty was identified by linking data to the AMA master file using Unique Physician Identification Numbers.

Study Design

Retrospective claims data analysis for 1999–2006. Logistic regression models were used to analyze the association between GO utilization and race/ethnicity in the initial, continuing, and final phases of care.

Principal Findings

GO use decreased from the initial to final phase of care (51.4–28.8 percent). No racial/ethnic differences were found overall and by phase of cancer care. Women >70 years old and those with unstaged disease were less likely to receive GO care compared to their counterparts. GO use was lower in some SEER registries compared to the Atlanta registry.

Conclusions

GO use for the initial ovarian cancer treatment or for longer term care was low but not different across racial/ethnic groups. Future research should identify factors that affect GO utilization and understand why use of these specialists remains low.

Ancillary