Socioeconomic Predictors of Short Diagnosis to Death Following Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis: A Population-Based Study using Recursive Partitioning
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Timely access to end-of-life care is a growing problem. One under-referred group is adults who die shortly after cancer diagnosis. This group’s challenges include a lack of definition for short diagnosis-to-death (SDTD), and inability of health care providers to identify risks for SDTD. Research indicates socioeconomic factors may influence access to end-of-life care, though how is unclear. This study used recursive partitioning methods to define SDTD for decedent adults with colorectal cancer and identify socioeconomic predictors of SDTD. SDTD was defined as less than 18.5 days. Socioeconomic predictors included long-term care residence and community-level characteristics such as education, immigration, marital status, Aboriginal status, and income. Results showed existing SDTD timeframes may be too long to adequately understand the population’s needs, and indictors of risk may be unique for this population. Additional research could establish consistency for defining SDTD and clarify the utility of socioeconomic predictors for mitigating barriers to care.