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Patterns of care in the initial management of women with vulvar cancers in Ontario

Elit L, Schultz S, Prysbysz R, Barbera L, Saskin R, Gunraj N, Wilton AS, Simunovic M, Urbach D. Eur J Gynaecol Oncol. 2009; 30(5):503-5.


Background — To facilitate the planning of future resources for cancer services in Ontario, Cancer Care Ontario commissioned an evaluation of operative services delivered for vulvar cancer.

Methods — Women with an incident diagnosis of vulvar malignancy were identified from 1, April 2003 to 31 March, 2004 using the Ontario Cancer Registry. Record linkages were created to other provincial health databases such as the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Results — Vulvar cancers affected 148 women. Disease specific rates of cancer were higher in rural areas and in women in the lower income quintiles. No surgery occurred in 17.6% of women. Use of surgery did not appear to vary by urban/rural residence or LHIN. Ontario's 17 gynecologic oncologists performed 75% of the surgeries. Groin lymphadenectomy rate was 52.8%. Surgery was performed in the LHIN of residence for 41% of women. All women were assessed by CXR. CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis occurred in 77%. MRIs were done infrequently. Radiation consults were preformed in half of the women with vulvar cancer but treatment was only delivered in half of those seen. Medical oncologists saw about 10% of women with gynecologic cancers.

Conclusions — There appear to be variations in incidence rates of vulvar cancer with disease being more frequent in rural areas. Subspecialty care from gynecologic oncologists was provided to 75% of women. Rates of lymphadenectomy as part of a surgical attempt occurred in 52.8% of women. These data would be enhanced with further information such as comorbidity, treatment intent (palliative/curative), histology, grade and stage.

Keywords: Women’s health Cancer Health care delivery

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