Background: Our objective was to explore whether differences in patient satisfaction based on gender exist at the Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System (VAPHCS) outpatient chemotherapy infusion unit.
Methods: Veterans who received outpatient infusion treatments at the VAPHCS outpatient chemotherapy infusion unit from 2018 to 2020 were invited to take an anonymous survey. Response differences were analyzed using Fisher exact and Welch t tests. Male and female patient lists were first generated based on Computerized Patient Record System designation, then defined and results reported based on gender self-identification from survey responses.
Results: The survey was conducted over a 2-week period during January and February of 2021. In total, 69 veterans were contacted: 21 (70%) of 30 female and 20 (51%) of 39 male veterans completed the survey. Most (62%) female patients were aged < 65 years, and 52% were treated for breast cancer. Most (90%) male patients were aged ≥ 65 years, and most commonly treated for prostate cancer (20%) or a hematologic malignancy (20%). Using our survey, patient satisfaction (SD) was 8.7 (2.2) on a 10-point scale among women, and 9.6 (0.6) among men (P = .11). History of sexual abuse or harassment was reported by 86% of women compared with 10% of men (P < .001). Women reported feeling uncomfortable around other patients in the infusion unit compared with men (29% vs 0%; P = .02) and discomfort in relaying uncomfortable feelings to a clinician (29% vs 0%; P = .02).
Conclusions: Gender seems to be related to how veterans with cancer perceive their ambulatory cancer care. This may be due to the combination of a high history of sexual abuse and/or harassment among women who represent a minority of the total infusion unit population, the majority of whom receive treatment for a primarily gender-specific breast malignancy. Analysis was limited by the small sample size of women, many with advanced malignancy.Reference:
West MT, Tamba GP, Thawani R, Drew A, Wilde NV, Graff JN, Mannino R. Gender and Patient Satisfaction in a Veterans Health Administration Outpatient Chemotherapy Unit. Fed Pract. 2022 Aug;39(Suppl 3):e0292. doi: 10.12788/fp.0292. Epub 2022 Aug 24. PMID: 36426107; PMCID: PMC9662310.