Oncologists’ responsibility, comfort, and knowledge managing hyperglycemia in patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy: a cross sectional study

Teresa M. Salgado, Rotana M. Radwan, Erin Hickey Zacholski, Emily Mackler, Tonya M. Buffington, Kerri T. Musselman, William J. Irvin, Jennifer M. Perkins, Trang N. Le, Dave L. Dixon, Karen B. Farris, Vanessa B. Sheppard, Resa M. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To assess oncologists’ responsibility, comfort, and knowledge managing hyperglycemia in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a questionnaire collected oncologists’ perceptions about professionals responsible for managing hyperglycemia during chemotherapy; comfort (score range 12–120); and knowledge (score range 0–16). Descriptive statistics were calculated including Student t-tests and one-way ANOVA for mean score differences. Multivariable linear regression identified predictors of comfort and knowledge scores. Results: Respondents (N = 229) were 67.7% men, 91.3% White and mean age 52.1 years. Oncologists perceived endocrinologists/diabetologists and primary care physicians as those responsible for managing hyperglycemia during chemotherapy, and most frequently referred to these clinicians. Reasons for referral included lack of time to manage hyperglycemia (62.4%), belief that patients would benefit from referral to an alternative provider clinician (54.1%), and not perceiving hyperglycemia management in their scope of practice (52.4%). The top-3 barriers to patient referral were long wait times for primary care (69.9%) and endocrinology (68.1%) visits, and patient’s provider outside of the oncologist’s institution (52.8%). The top-3 barriers to treating hyperglycemia were lack of knowledge about when to start insulin, how to adjust insulin, and what insulin type works best. Women (ß = 1.67, 95% CI: 0.16, 3.18) and oncologists in suburban areas (ß = 6.98, 95% CI: 2.53, 11.44) had higher comfort scores than their respective counterparts; oncologists working in practices with > 10 oncologists had lower comfort scores (ß = -2.75, 95% CI: -4.96, -0.53) than those in practices with ≤ 10. No significant predictors were identified for knowledge. Conclusion: Oncologists expected endocrinology or primary care clinicians to manage hyperglycemia during chemotherapy, but long wait times were among the top barriers cited when referring patients. New models that provide prompt and coordinated care are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number450
Pages (from-to)450
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia/chemically induced
  • Insulins
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Oncologists
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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