Background: Little is known about resource utilization (number of days in the hospital or medical care) between diagnosis and death in patients with pancreatic cancer. Methods: Using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked data, we identified 25,476 patients with pancreatic cancer (1992-2005). Hospital and medical care days per person-month from the time of diagnosis were described, stratified by stage, treatment, and survival duration. Results: Hospital/medical care days vary by length of survival and treatment strategy in patients with pancreatic cancer. For all stages, patients were in the hospital a mean of 6.4 days and received medical care a total of 9.0 days in the first month after diagnosis, decreasing to 1.7 and 3.7 days per month, respectively, by the end of the first year. Hospital/medical care days per month of life were higher in patients with shorter survival but increased sharply at the end of life in all patients, regardless of duration of survival. In patients with locoregional disease, resection was associated with a higher number of hospital/medical care days during the first 4 months after diagnosis, but fewer at the end of the first year. For distant disease, hospital days were similar but days in medical care were higher for patients receiving chemotherapy, increasing especially at the end of life. Conclusions: This study is the first to quantify hospital/medical care days in patients with pancreatic cancer by stage, treatment, and survival. This information will provide realistic expectations and allow for treatment decisions based on patient preferences.
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