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Distance Traveled for Treatment of Cervical Cancer: Who Travels the Farthest, and Does it Impact Outcome?
  1. Camille C. Gunderson, MD,
  2. Elizabeth K. Nugent, MD,
  3. D. Scott McMeekin, MD and
  4. Kathleen N. Moore, MD, MS
  1. Section of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Camille Gunderson, MD, 800 NE 10th St, Suite 5040, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. E-mail:


Objective To evaluate the impact of distance from residence to treatment center on disease characteristics and recurrence of cervical cancer.

Materials and Methods A single-institution retrospective chart review of patients treated for cervical cancer during 2006–2011 was performed. Demographic, socioeconomic, and clinicopathologic characteristics were recorded. Distance traveled from home to treatment facility was calculated and categorized. Recurrence and follow-up data were extracted; progression-free survival and overall survival were calculated. SAS version 9.2 was used for statistical analysis.

Results Two hundred nineteen patients met the study criteria; 75% were Caucasian. Forty-nine percent used tobacco. Twenty-five percent had stage III/IV disease. Insurance type was 46% private, 25% Medicaid, 20% Medicare, and 9% uninsured. Distance between residence and hospital was less than 15 miles (29%), 15 to 30 miles (21%), 30 to 50 miles (17%), and more than 50 miles (33%). Median follow-up period was 23 months (range, 1–65). Caucasians were more likely to travel more than 30 miles to a treatment center (P = 0.018) Non-Caucasians were less likely to have private insurance (P = 0.0005) and more likely to recur (P = 0.0045). Recurrence was highest (50%) in African Americans. Travel of more than 30 miles was not associated with age, stage, histology, tobacco abuse, employment, clinical trial enrollment, primary chemoradiation for stage IB disease, or delayed radiation. Travel of more than 30 miles was associated with government insurance (P = 0.029) and a trend toward unemployment (P = 0.059). Four-year progression-free survival (53% vs 52%; P = 0.992) and overall survival (57% vs 62%; P = 0.73) were similar between less than or more than 30-mile travel.

Conclusions Fifty percent of the patients reside more than 30 miles from treating hospital. Despite farther travel, stage of disease, clinical trial enrollment, treatment type, radiation completion, and recurrence rates were similar among patients with cervical cancer. Non-Caucasians are less likely to travel more than 30 miles.

  • Cervical cancer
  • Distance traveled
  • Access to care

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  • No funding was used for this study.

  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.