Robert Olson

Associate Professor

Research Classification

Radiotherapy
Head and Neck Cancer
Breast Cancer
Lung Cancer
Epidemiology
Community Health / Public Health
Social Determinants of Cancer

Research Interests

patient reported outcomes
health services delivery
stereotactic radiotherapy
Clinical trials

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Research Methodology

clinical trials
patient reported outcomes
Epidemiology

Recruitment

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Master's students
Doctoral students
2021

1) Clinical trials assessing stereotactic radiotherapy in the setting of metastatic disease 2) Population-level collection and use of patient reported outcomes to improve care and guide comparative effectiveness research 3) Assessing interventions to impact prescribing practices of oncologists

I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I am interested in hiring Co-op students for research placements.
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in supervising students to conduct interdisciplinary research.

Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Population-based assessment of relationship between volume of practice and outcomes in head and neck cancer patients (2017)

Background and Purpose: Recent literature has suggested that higher volumes of practice areassociated with better survival outcomes for head and neck cancer (HNC) patients. However,these studies are limited by looking at the volume of practice on a cancer centre level (i.e. notprovider level), and include jurisdictions without central coordination and specialized HNCtumor group support. The objective of this thesis was to evaluate the effect of treatment centre onthe overall survival (OS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS) of HNC patients in BritishColumbia in a provincially coordinated program.Methods: The BC Cancer Registry (BCCR), a population-based provincial database, was used toidentify all patients in BC diagnosed for the first time with a primary non-thyroid HNC andtreated with radiotherapy between 2006 and 2011. Patients were categorized as residing in large,small and rural local health authorities (LHAs) using BC Stats and BC Ministry of Healthinformation. Physician case frequency was defined as low (0-14 cases per year), medium (15-29cases per year) and high (>30 cases per year). There was no effect on OS or head and neck CSSwhen physician case frequency was treated as a continuous variable.Results: 2,330 HNC patients were included in the study. On multivariable analysis, aftercontrolling for age, gender, cancer stage, anatomical site, treatment and physician casefrequency, neither head and neck CSS (HNCSS) (HR range=0.86-1.03; p=0.54-0.99) nor OS(HR range=0.91-1.05; p=0.60-0.88) was significantly different by centre. OS was also notsignificantly different for patients treated by physicians with low case frequency (HR=0.96;0.81-1.13; p=0.60) and medium case frequency (HR=1.12; 0.84-1.49; p=0.43) in reference tohigh case frequency. Conclusions: There was no significant difference in survival among BC cancer centres aftercontrolling for differences in rurality, physician case volume and other potential confoundingvariables. This lack of difference may be in large part due to the centrally coordinatedpopulation-run program where radiation oncologists subspecialize, follow provincial guidelines,attend multidisciplinary rounds, have access to radiotherapy quality assurance, and are supportedby a HNC tumor group.

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Publications

 

Membership Status

Partner appointment
View explanation of statuses

Location

Northern Medical Program - Prince George

Program Affiliations

Department(s)

 

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