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GI Cancer: Avoiding Potential Hospitalizations

GI Cancer: Avoiding Potential Hospitalizations

Hospitalizations are a distressing experience for patients with cancer and their families, especially when they occur near the end of life. Studies show that hospitalizations are the largest single component of spending for cancer care in the United States. Hospital admissions for patients with cancer vary substantially from region to region. This variability suggests that many hospitalizations are avoidable, according to Gabriel A. Brooks, MD. “Effective strategies to reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations would increase our ability to provide high-quality, patient-centered care that is conscious of costs.” Potentially avoidable hospitalizations have been examined broadly in published research, but conclusions from these studies are often poorly generalizable to oncology care. Such studies tend to focus on chemotherapy-related hospitalizations when conducted in patients with cancer. While it has been estimated that as many as one-third of hospitalizations in patients receiving chemotherapy are toxicity-related, these analyses have not addressed the extent to which chemotherapy-related hospitalizations are avoidable. Looking at GI Cancers Colorectal and pancreatic cancer are two gastrointestinal (GI) cancers that are among the five leading causes of cancer-related death in the United States. These diseases contribute substantially to inpatient hospitalizations in patients with cancer. In the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Brooks and colleagues had a study published that examined the incidence and characteristics of potentially avoidable hospitalizations in patients with GI cancers. “Characterizing potentially avoidable hospitalizations in patients with GI cancer will enhance our knowledge base and inform the design of future interventions,” says Dr. Brooks. In the study, Dr. Brooks and colleagues evaluated 201 hospitalizations in 154 unique patients with GI cancer. Colorectal cancer was the most common diagnosis, and...
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