Document Type : Research Articles
Department of Orthopedics, College of Medicine and Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila.
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine and Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila.
Introduction: Treatment abandonment for osteosarcoma is a significant problem in developing countries with rates as high as 70%. This study aimed to determine the effect of a patient navigator on treatment abandonment and patient follow-up of osteosarcoma patients at a tertiary referral center. Materials and Methods: A retrospective review of osteosarcoma patients was performed investigating 2 cohorts based on the start of the patient navigator. Group 1 (Pre-Patient Navigator, n=46) were treated from January 2016 to December 2017 while Group 2 (Post-Patient Navigator, n=29) were treated from January 2018 to June 2019. The primary outcome investigated was treatment abandonment defined as missing 4 or more consecutive weeks of treatment. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to investigate the effect of the patient navigator on the cohorts. Results: Treatment abandonment rates for the Pre-Patient Navigator group was significantly higher compared to those with a patient navigator (50% vs 6%, p=0.0001). Abandonment for the pre-navigator group occurred at a mean of 2.9 months (0 – 9 months, median 3 months). Fourteen of 23 patients who abandoned from Group 1 did not proceed to neoadjuvant chemotherapy while 3 patients abandoned after completing 1 cycle of neoadjuvant chemotherapy. In the patient navigator group, no patients abandoned prior to completing 3 cycles of chemotherapy. One patient abandoned after refusing a below knee amputation after 3 cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and 1 patient did not complete further chemotherapy after having a hip disarticulation. Patient feedback on the patient navigator experience was favorable. Conclusions: Having a patient navigator from diagnosis throughout treatment reduced treatment abandonment rates in osteosarcoma patients and may serve as a model for other low to middle income countries.