Prostate cancer navigation: initial experience and association with time to care

To evaluate factors associated with use of patient navigation in a prostate cancer population and identify whether navigation is associated with prolonged time to care. Cancer patient navigation has been shown to improve access to cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment, but little is known about patient navigation in prostate cancer care.

All men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer between 2009 and 2015 were abstracted from the MaineHealth multi-specialty tumor registry. Regression analyses controlling for patient-, disease-, and system-level factors evaluated characteristics associated with navigation utilization. The association between navigation utilization, barriers to care, and longer time to treatment was assessed with Cox proportional hazards regression.

Of the patient population (n = 1587), 85% of men were navigated. Navigation use was associated with earlier year of diagnosis, treatment by a high-volume urologist, and lower risk disease (p < 0.05). Treatment delay was associated with low-risk disease (vs: intermediate OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.46-0.85 and high OR 0.16, 95% CI 0.1-0.25) and receipt of navigation services (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.12-2.45) but not distance to care, insurance, or treatment choice.

We observed that patients with low-risk prostate cancer were more likely to utilize navigation, but traditional barriers to care were not associated with utilization. Navigation was associated with longer time to treatment, which likely reflects clinically appropriate delays associated with greater shared decision making. Time to treatment may not be the ideal metric for evaluating navigation in prostate cancer; shared decision making, patient satisfaction, and psychosocial outcomes may be more appropriate.

World journal of urology. 2018 Aug 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Emily C Serrell, Moritz Hansen, Greg Mills, Andrew Perry, Tracy Robbins, Melanie Feinberg, Scot C Remick, Lisa Beaule, Matt Hayn, Tom Kinkead, Paul K J Han, Jesse D Sammon

Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA., Division of Urology, Maine Medical Center, Portland, ME, USA., Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute, Scarborough, ME, USA., Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. .