Aims: Systemic anti-cancer therapy (SACT) use in the last month of life is an important performance indicator for centres providing care for patients with cancer. We aim to determine outcomes at a regional Queensland cancer centre to allow benchmarking against Australian and international data.
Methods: A retrospective audit was undertaken at Toowoomba Hospital (Darling Downs Regional Cancer Centre) to analyze mortality occurring within 30 days of SACT (cytotoxic chemotherapy, targeted therapy) for solid tumour and haematological malignancies from January 2011 to December 2015. Factors evaluated included age, sex, diagnosis, aim of treatment, chemosensitivity of disease, type and number of treatments, distance from treatment facility, palliative care involvement, place and cause of death.
Results: A study cohort of 219 patients was identified as having received SACT within 90 days of death during the 5 year study period, 66 of these (30.1%) were treated within 30 days of death. Evaluation of electronically stored chemotherapy data and a review of patient medical records is underway to identify factors influencing decisions to treat. Yearly rates as percentage of all patients treated with SACT within 30 days of death (2.45, 4.43, 4.11, 3.09, 3.89) are similar to that reported from a similar regional facility in Victoria.1 Over the 5 years this rate is 5.4%. Of all deceased patients that received SACT, 13.7% were treated within 30 days of death. Further results will be reported at the meeting.
Conclusion: Preliminary analysis indicates that our results appear comparable to available literature data. Increased research into this important indicator, and the factors influencing treatment decisions, can only serve to facilitate improvements in this area of care.