Patient Flows in Cancer Surgery — ASN Events

Patient Flows in Cancer Surgery (#95)

Andrew Johnson 1 , Hazel Harden 2 , Dannie Zarate 2 , Shoni Colquist 2 , Euan Walpole 3
  1. Townsville Hospital and Health Service, Townsville, QLD, Australia
  2. Queensland Cancer Control Analysis Team, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. PAH and QEII Hospital Network, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Qld, Australia


We estimated the proportion of cancer patients who received surgery in hospitals outside their health service area of residence to compare the inter-district patient flows in rural and urban areas.


The proportion of patients who received cancer surgery in hospitals outside their health service areas of residence was estimated for Queensland residents treated with surgery for female breast cancer (n=22,124), colorectal cancer (23,381), and non-small cell lung cancer (2,570) diagnosed between 2001 and 2010.


Among patients who underwent cancer surgery, 13% travelled to hospitals outside their health service areas of residence to receive treatment. The rate was much higher among rural patients, 31% of whom received treatment outside their area of residence; in contrast, only 5% of urban patients went outside their districts to receive treatment. The difference is most pronounced with lung cancer where all surgeries were performed in urban hospitals, hence 100% of rural lung cancer patients received surgery outside their area of residence, compared to 27% among urban patients. In both breast and colorectal cancers, 4% of urban patients travelled inter-district for surgery, compared to 27% of rural patients.


Around one out of three cancer surgery patients from rural areas are treated in hospitals outside their district of residence. Inter-district flow is greatest for lung cancer patients in rural areas.