Hospital readmissions are increasingly used as a quality indicator. Patients with cancer have an increased risk of readmission.The purpose of this study was to develop an in depth understanding of the causes of readmissions in patients undergoing cancer treatment using PRISMA methodology and was subsequently used to identify any potentially preventable causes of readmission in this cohort.


50 consecutive 30 day readmissions from the 1st November 2014 to the medical admissions unit (MAU) at a specialist tertiary cancer hospital in the Northwest of England were analysed retrospectively.


25(50%) of the patients were male with a median age of 59 years (range 19-81). PRISMA analysis showed that active (human) factors contributed to the readmission of 4 (8%) of the readmissions, which may have been potentially preventable. All of the readmissions were driven by a medical condition related to the patient’s underlying cancer and ongoing cancer treatment.


The majority of readmissions of patients undergoing cancer treatment appear to be related to the underlying condition and, as such, are predictable but not preventable. This suggests that hospital readmission is not a good quality indicator in this cohort of patients.