Research: 2018 – Swift Current

Project Title:
Factors affecting Prostate Cancer outcomes in SK: a comprehensive epidemiological review
Investigators:
Dr. Michael Szafron, School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan
Mustafa Andkhoie (PhD candidate)
Devan Tchir (MPH candidate)
Lead Investigator Bio:
Dr. Szafron is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health, a member in both the Division of Biomedical Engineering (UofS) and the Cannabinoid Research Initiative of Saskatchewan (CRIS), chair of the Social Science Research Laboratory (UofS) management committee, and board member for the Saskatchewan Epidemiology Association. One of his areas of expertise is in quantitative public health with applications in different areas of Public Health including Policy and Prevention. His research applies an evidence-based approach and focuses on using statistical evidence to shed light on current Public Health issues, including why prostate cancer outcomes in Saskatchewan are trailing the national averages.
Project Abstract:
In Canada, Saskatchewan ranks second lowest in prostate cancer survival, compared to other provinces. According to a 2015 national report, Saskatchewan also had the second highest mortality rate for prostate cancer. This project explores possible reasons for the lower survival and higher mortality rates in Saskatchewan, when compared to other provinces. To explore possible reasons for these poor Saskatchewan rates, this project will study whether access to healthcare is affecting these SK prostate cancer rates. Using a previous Telus Motorcycle Ride for Dad grant, we found evidence suggesting that prostate cancer screening in Saskatchewan is identifying relatively few men whose prostate cancer is classified as a low GUROC risk level. We also found evidence that the distance a patient has to travel to receive treatment impacts the patient’s treatment choice. The objectives of this project are to find possible explanations why prostate cancer screening in SK is not identifying patients with a low GUROC risk level and to determine how where one lives is associated with his prostate cancer risk level. The results of this project can be used to inform policy interventions that improve patient care in terms of prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment in Saskatchewan.
Scientific Abstract:
In Canada, prostate cancer (PCa) is the second leading cause of cancer among men (after lung cancer) with approximately 13% of men (1 in 8 males) to be diagnosed in their lifetime. The five-year Canadian relative survival rate for PCa is 96%, but the rates vary among the Canadian provinces and Saskatchewan ranking second lowest (91%). According to a 2015 national report, Saskatchewan also had the second highest (26 deaths per 100,000) age-standardized PCa mortality rate. This project explores possible reasons for the lower survival and higher mortality rates in Saskatchewan, when compared to other provinces. Using a previous Telus Motorcycle Ride for Dad grant, we found evidence that (1) PCa screening in Saskatchewan is identifying relatively few patients at a low GUROC risk level and (2) the distance patient’s travel to receive treatment impacts treatment choice. Here we aim to study how where one lives affects PCa screening, incidence, and treatment uptake. Specifically we will study how the availability of healthcare providers and treatment options, impact PCa screening, incidence, and treatment wait-times and uptake. The project results can be used to inform policy interventions that improve Saskatchewan PCa patient care in terms of screening, diagnosis, and treatment.
Impact on prostate cancer patients:
This project has the potential to significantly impact PCa patient care in Saskatchewan. This work will provide evidence that can begin to answer the questions, “Why are so few patients being diagnosed with low risk PCa?” and “What role does where one lives play in PCa patient care?”. The project will determine the efficacy of current PCa screening practices in diagnosing PCa patients with a low GUROC risk level. The project will yield information about the role of the current distribution of physicians has on PCa outcomes in Saskatchewan. Results regarding commuting distances and treatment choice will inform patients, families and policy makers about how distance impacts treatment trends in the province. This project will identify clusters of high-risk PCa in Saskatchewan, which will provide opportunities for interventions at the community/regional levels. This project could provide evidence for redistributing healthcare resources in order to improve PCa patient care. Thus this research would have direct and indirect impact on patient care, health improvement and health policies at the provincial and national levels.