Fragmented Care in the Treatment of Rectal Cancer and Time to Definitive Therapy

Jonathan S. Abelson, Philip S. Bauer, John Barron, Ani Bommireddy, William C. Chapman, Christine Schad, Kerri Ohman, Steven Hunt, Matthew Mutch, Matthew Silviera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: The National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC) emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach for treating rectal cancer and has developed performance measures to ensure that patients receive standardized care. We hypothesized that rectal cancer patients receiving care at multiple centers would be less likely to receive timely and appropriate care. Study Design: A single institution retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database was performed. All patients undergoing proctectomy and ≤1 other treatment modality (eg radiation and/or chemotherapy) for Stage II/III rectal adenocarcinoma were included. Unified care was defined as receiving all modalities of care at our institution, and fragmented care was defined as having at least 1 treatment modality at another institution. Results: From 2009 to 2019, 415 patients met inclusion criteria, with 197 (47.5%) receiving fragmented care and 218 (52.5%) receiving unified care. The unified cohort patients were more likely to see a colorectal surgeon before starting treatment (89.0% vs 78.7%, p < 0.01) and start definitive treatment within 60 days of diagnosis (89.0% vs 79.7%, p = 0.01). On adjusted analysis, unified care patients were 2.78 times more likely to see a surgeon before starting treatment (95% CI 1.47–5.24) and 2.63 times more likely to start treatment within 60 days (95% CI 1.35–5.13). There was no difference in 90-day mortality or 5-year disease-free survival. Conclusions: This retrospective cohort study suggests patients with rectal cancer receiving fragmented care are at an increased risk of delays in care without any impact on disease-free survival. These findings need to be considered within the context of ongoing regionalization of rectal cancer care to ensure all patients receive optimal care, irrespective of whether care is delivered across multiple institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Fragmented Care in the Treatment of Rectal Cancer and Time to Definitive Therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this