Existing literature suggests inferior quality of oncologic surgery during holiday periods. This study aimed to investigate the impact of holiday periods on surgical treatment of gastric cancer in the Netherlands. This nationwide study included all gastric cancer patients undergoing potentially curative surgery registered in the Dutch Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Audit (DUCA). For each patient it was established whether they underwent surgery during or outside the 11 Dutch holiday weeks, based on date and region of surgery. Separate, single-day holidays were not included. Baseline and treatment characteristics were compared using descriptive statistics. Time from diagnosis to treatment and short-term surgical outcomes were compared using multilevel multivariable logistic regression analyses. To prevent bias from recent advancements, analyses were repeated in a recent cohort of patients (2015-2018). Between 2011-2018, 3440 patients were included in the DUCA. Some 555 (16.1%) patients underwent surgery during 11 holiday weeks. There were no differences in patient, tumor and treatment characteristics and time to treatment between holidays and non-holidays. Tumor-positive resection margins (R1/R2 vs R0) occurred more frequent during holidays (aOR:1.47, 95%CI:1.07-2.04). Subgroup analyses in a recent cohort of patients also found higher tumor-positive resection margins (aOR:1.59, 95%CI:1.01-2.43) and higher failure-to-rescue rates (aOR:2.55, 95%CI:1.18-5.49) during holidays. Even though time to treatment and patient, tumor and treatment characteristics were comparable between holidays and non-holidays, tumor-positive resection margin and failure-to-rescue rates were higher during holidays. This suggests that steps must be taken to keep specialized and dedicated gastric cancer expertise up to standard during holiday periods.
|Journal||Current Problems in Cancer|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2022|