PURPOSE - In response to variations in cancer care organizations have developed clinical guidelines. In the case of nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer, also known as superficial bladder cancer, 2 similar sets of guidelines were released in the late 1990s that provide care recommendations. We examined patterns of intravesical therapy use in nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer in 2003 to determine whether disparities remained in the quality of cancer care.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Data from the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) Program 2003 Bladder Cancer Patterns of Care project were used. Subjects newly diagnosed with nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer in 2003 were included. Clinical and sociodemographic data were obtained from the SEER Program and a detailed medical record review. Statistical analysis was performed to identify independent predictors of intravesical therapy in the entire cohort and in a subset of patients at high risk.
RESULTS - A total of 685 patients were included in the study, of whom 216 (31.5%) received intravesical therapy. In addition to higher tumor stage and grade, intravesical therapy was independently associated with race/ethnicity and geographic region. Of the subset of 350 patients at high risk 42% received intravesical therapy. Stage, grade, race/ethnicity and geographic region were independently associated with intravesical therapy in this subcohort.
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest the underuse of intravesical therapy even in patients with high risk nonmuscle invasive bladder cancer as well as disparities in the quality of care. Barriers to using this cancer treatment must be identified, particularly in individuals at higher risk, and providers must become more aware of existing clinical guidelines.