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A comparison between the rates of radiation oncologist and urologist consultations in men diagnosed with prostate cancer in northern Ontario, Canada


Purpose — Recommendations from Cancer Care Ontario stress the importance of multidisciplinary care from radiologists and urologists for prostate cancer treatment. The present study sought to examine what percentage of patients had a consultation with a radiation oncologist before undergoing a radical prostatectomy in Ontario, Canada, between 2010 and 2019.

Methods and Materials — Administrative healthcare databases were used to analyze the number of consultations billed to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan from radiologists and urologists who treated men with a first prostate cancer diagnosis (n = 22,169).

Results — In Ontario, 94.70% of Ontario Health Insurance Plan billings for patients with prostate cancer who had a prostatectomy within 1 year of a prostate cancer diagnosis were from urology, and 37.66% and 1.77% of billings were received from radiation oncology and medical oncology specialties, respectively. When sociodemographic variables were examined, having a lower neighborhood income (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.69; confidence interval [CI], 0.62-0.76) and a rural residence (aOR, 0.72; CI, 0.65-0.79) were associated with lower odds of receiving a consultation from a radiation oncologist. When billings for consultations were examined geographically by region, Northeast Ontario (Local Health Integrated Network 13) had the lowest odds of receiving a radiation consultation compared with the rest of Ontario (aOR, 0.50; CI, 0.42-0.59).

Conclusions — The results of this study show that differences in equitable access to multidisciplinary healthcare exist for men with a first prostate cancer diagnosis who reside in more northern and rural regions within Ontario, relative to the rest of the province. The reasons for these findings are likely multifactorial and may include factors such as patient treatment preference and distance/travel to receive treatment. However, as diagnosis year increased, so did the chances of receiving a radiation oncologist consultation, and this upward trend may reflect the implementation of Cancer Care Ontario guidelines.



Santi SA, Caswell JM, Beruar AS, Conlon MSC, Carlson RG, Pearce AG. Adv Radiat Oncol. 2023; 8(2):101131. Epub 2022 Nov 26.

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