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Travel burden and clinical presentation of retinoblastoma: analysis of 1024 patients from 43 African countries and 518 patients from 40 European countries
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  • Published on:
    Response to Travel burden and clinical presentation of retinoblastoma; they travel more than papers say.
    • Ido Didi Fabian, Ophthalmologist The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK
    • Other Contributors:
      • Andrew W. Stacey, Ophthalmologist
      • Allen Foster, Ophthalmologist
      • Richard Bowman, Ophthalmologist

    We thank Alfaar for their comment on our paper titled: “Travel burden and clinical presentation of retinoblastoma: analysis of 1024 patients from 43 African countries and 518 patients from 40 European contries”.[1]
    In our paper, we compared the stage of presentation of newly diagnosed retinoblastoma patients from African and European countries and investigated possible associations to the travel distance from home to treatment centre. Our findings suggest that treatment centres in African countries serve patients that reside, on average, in closer proximity to the treatment center than in Europe (186 km average distance travelled in Africa compared to an average distance travelled of 422 km in Europe). In reply to Alfaar’s comment, to produce these numbers, we calculated the average travel distance in a country and then calculated the mean of averages in a continent and compared Africa to Europe.
    The red circles in Figure 2 in our original paper,[1] representing the mean travel distance in a continent, were superimposed on each centre on a scaled map. All red circles in Africa are similar in size (i.e. radius of 186 km) and all in Europe are similar (i.e. radius of 422 km).
    We agree with Alfaar that our analysis has several limitations, some of which are mentioned in our paper and some, rightfully, in his eLetter. In a study, in which patients from over 80 countries in two continents are included, one cannot take into account all considerations, especiall...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Travel burden and clinical presentation of retinoblastoma; they travel more than papers say.
    • Ahmad Samir Alfaar, Ophthalmologist Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leipzig, Germany

    I have read with interest the paper by Fabian ID et al. “Travel burden and clinical presentation of retinoblastoma”[1]. I acknowledge the efforts conducted by the authors to build a retinoblastoma knowledge based on a large consortium for the first time. Many publications have agreed that the underprivileged socioeconomic situations affect the presentation and outcome of retinoblastoma patients[2, 3]. The measures used in most publications, including the one by Fabian ID et al., are national-level measures. Such socioeconomic measures on the country level affect the roads and travel quality beside family and healthcare giver education and training. A better measure in such cases is an individual level for each family. In developing countries, a vast gap presents between inhabitants letting a country-level measure, not representative. As mentioned in a glimpse in the paper, patients can spend a long time orbiting multiple physicians before targeting the oncology center. On the other side, people with higher economic status can get better healthcare and travel longer distances comfortably and present to centers with early stages.
    Furthermore, Figure 2 shows interestingly similar small catchment areas in Africa; this raised a question on the data that were used for drawing the figure; is it individualized for each center? Additionally, if the analysis depended on the permanent address.
    Egypt’s major pediatric oncology center, which was included in the study, cover...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.