Date of Conferral
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a destructive brain cancer that results in death 12 to 15 months after diagnosis. The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine if variations in tumor size at diagnosis, treatment options, and survival rate occur in GBM patients living in urban and rural areas of the United States. Using the behavior model of health services as the theoretical framework, this study used secondary data sets of GBM cases reported from 1988 to 2011 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program. Tumor size was measured in millimeters; treatment was evaluated by ascertaining the number of GBM patients who had surgical resection of their tumors, radiation, and chemotherapy; and survival rate was evaluated using Cox Regression analysis. With a sample size of 33,202 cases, data were examined using descriptive and multivariable analyses with SPSS. Results showed statistically significant differences in tumor size at diagnosis in rural patients compared to urban patients (p = 0.0085; p = 0.018), more urban patients were treated with radiation compared to rural patients (p < 0.001), and rural patients had poorer survival rates than urban patients (p < 0.001). Finally, when controlling for region, race, age, gender, education, and income, longer survival time was associated with urban status, female cases, and higher family income (p < 0.0001), and greater age was associated with reduced survival time (p < 0.0001). Study results could promote positive social change by identifying predictive variables associated with health outcomes of GBM patients. It may also educate providers on the risk of rurality of patients diagnosed with GBM, and inform lawmakers responsible for the creation of healthcare policy and the equitable allocation of healthcare resources.