Geographic Disparities in Cancer Survival and Access to Care: Ovarian Cancer in Kentucky

International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 2010

Mary Gordinier and Carol Hanchette

“From 1995-2005, ovarian cancer accounted for 2.7% of new cancer cases diagnosed among women in Kentucky and was responsible for 4.7% of female cancer deaths in the state. The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 45% for all stages combined. Multiple studies document a survival advantage for women with gynecologic malignancies when treated by a gynecologic oncologist. The authors used Kentucky Cancer Registry data for the years 1995-2005, geocoded to 5-digit ZIP code, to examine the hypothesis that ovarian cancer survival is higher among patients receiving treatment in areas where gynecologic oncologists practice. Their hypothesis was confirmed. A secondary goal of the study was to identify geographic areas of the state with lower overall access to care. Contrary to the expected pattern of low access to care in the Appalachian region of the state, their analysis indicated that access to successful treatment is a greater issue in the western portion of Kentucky.”