Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Angela Prehn


The incidence of venous and arterial thromboembolic events (VTEs/ATEs) varies greatly by cancer type and age, with increased risk in the elderly. Very little research has been reported specific to elderly kidney cancer patients. Retrospective cohort analyses of Medicare patients, 11,463 with and 11,463 without kidney cancer, between 2003 and 2010 were conducted to compare incidence rates of VTEs/ATEs in cancer patients with matched noncancer patients and to assess independent risk factors for VTEs in cancer patients. The advanced epidemiology triangle was the theoretical framework used to interpret the association between incident events and other factors. Using Cox proportional hazard regression, the first 2 research questions examined whether the incidence rates of VTEs/ATEs were higher in kidney cancer patients than noncancer patients; the third research question assessed which factors were associated with VTEs after kidney cancer diagnosis. In the year prior to index date, cancer patients had higher incidence rates of VTEs than noncancer patients; the incidence rate of myocardial infarction was higher in cancer patients than noncancer patients for patients with a history of cardiovascular disease. Elderly kidney cancer patients with transitional cell tumors had lower rates of pulmonary embolism and ischemic stroke compared to patients with clear cell tumors. Recent history of VTE and Charlson comorbidity score were strong predictors of VTE after cancer diagnosis. These results can lead to positive social change by helping healthcare providers to determine who may benefit from closer observation or prophylaxis to prevent or minimize morbidity from these thromboembolic events, thus improving health and quality of life for elderly kidney cancer patients.