Traveling for Pancreatic Cancer Care Is Worth the Trip

Marcus A. Alvarez, Kiyah Anderson, Jeremiah L. Deneve, Paxton V. Dickson, Danny Yakoub, Martin D. Fleming, Lokesh K. Chinthala, Parya Zareie, Robert L. Davis, David Shibata, Evan S. Glazer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Centralized care for patients with pancreatic cancer is associated with longer survival. We hypothesized that increased travel distance from home is associated with increased survival for pancreatic cancer patients. Methods: The National Cancer Database user file for all pancreatic cancer patients was investigated from 2004 through 2015. Distance from the patients’ zip code to the treating facility was determined. Survival was investigated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox hazard ratios (CoxHRs) were determined based on stage of disease, distance traveled for care, and clinical factors. Results: 340 780 patients were identified. In the average age of 68 ± 12 years, 51% were male and 83% were Caucasian. For all stages of cancer, longer survival was associated with traveling farther (P <.001). The survival advantage was longer for Caucasians than African Americans (3.7 months vs. 2.6 months, P <.001) Travel was associated with a 13% decrease in risk of death (P <.001). Even controlling for the pathologic stage, traveling farther was associated with decreased risk of death (CoxHR =.91, P <.001). Discussion: Traveling for care is associated with improved survival for pancreatic cancer patients. While a selection bias may exist, the fact that all stages of patients investigated benefited suggests that this is a real phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-556
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • National Cancer Database
  • centralized care
  • pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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