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Chemotherapy Use at the End of Life in Uganda.

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Chemotherapy Use at the End of Life in Uganda.

J Glob Oncol. 2017 Dec;3(6):711-719

Authors: Low D, Merkel EC, Menon M, Lyman GH, Ddungu H, Namukwaya E, Leng M, Casper C

Abstract
Purpose Avoiding chemotherapy during the last 30 days of life has become a goal of cancer care in the United States and Europe, yet end-of-life chemotherapy administration remains a common practice worldwide. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of and factors predicting end-of-life chemotherapy administration in Uganda. Methods Retrospective chart review and surveys and interviews of providers were performed at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI), the only comprehensive cancer center in the area, which serves a catchment area of greater than 100 million people. All adult patients at the UCI with reported cancer deaths between January 1, 2014, and August 31, 2015 were included. All UCI physicians were offered a survey, and a subset of physicians were also individually interviewed. Results Three hundred ninety-two patients (65.9%) received chemotherapy. Age less than 55 years (odds ratio [OR], 2.30; P = .004), a cancer diagnosis greater than 60 days before death (OR, 9.13; P < .001), and a presenting Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 to 2 (OR, 2.47; P = .001) were associated with the administration of chemotherapy. More than 45% of patients received chemotherapy in the last 30 days of life. No clinical factors were predictive of chemotherapy use in the last 30 days of life, although doctors reported using performance status, cancer stage, and tumor chemotherapy sensitivity to determine when to administer chemotherapy. Patient expectations and a lack of outcomes data were important nonclinical factors influencing chemotherapy administration. Conclusion Chemotherapy is administered to a high proportion of patients with terminal cancer in Uganda, raising concern about efficacy. Late presentation of cancer in Uganda complicates end-of-life chemotherapy recommendations, necessitating guidelines specific to sub-Saharan Africa.

PMID: 29244988 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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