Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana.
We examined the association between urological cancer mortality rates and the presence of physicians. We hypothesized that cancer mortality rates increase with a low physician population density since this would decrease the detection of cancers at an early stage.
Mortality rates for prostate cancer, bladder cancer, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, and cancer at all sites for white patients in United States counties from 2003 to 2007 were obtained from the National Vital Statistics System. High and low rate groups of counties were reviewed for each type of cancer. The high rate groups consisted of 15 or 25 counties with the highest cancer mortality rates. The low rate groups consisted of counties, selected from the same states as high rate groups, with the lowest mortality rates. Levels of physicians per 10,000 general population, income, poverty and no health insurance were compared between the high and low cancer rate groups.
There was a statistically significant inverse association between physician population density levels and kidney and renal pelvis cancer mortality rates. The association was suggestive for bladder cancer and prostate cancer mortality but not for cancer at all sites. There was also a tendency for an inverse association between family income and cancer mortality rates.
Kidney and renal pelvis cancer mortality rates increased significantly with a low physician population density. We found a suggestive but not significant negative association between physician population density and mortality rates for prostate cancer and bladder cancer but not for cancer at all sites. Low family income was associated with higher cancer rates.
Colli J, Sartor O, Thomas R, Lee BR. Are you the author?
Reference: J Urol. 2011 Oct 18. Epub ahead of print.