A new study conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research in Milwaukee has found that older breast cancer survivors, who were under the care of both a primary care physician and a cancer specialist, had a better chance of beating their tumors as seen in follow-up mammography.
The researchers found that about two-thirds of elderly breast cancer survivors who received shared care had higher mammography rates in the first three years. "Previous studies have shown that over one-third of breast cancer survivors do not receive annual mammography after treatment, so we know that there are problems with the quality of follow-up care for survivors," said co-author Kenneth Schellhase, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of family & community medicine. "However the best approach for delivering such care remains unclear. We wondered whether the specialty of the physician made a difference, so we evaluated mammography use among survivors followed by primary care physicians, cancer specialists, or both. Our results are encouraging that primary care physicians and specialists who cooperate in the care of breast cancer survivors can deliver better quality care." The researchers gathered data from National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Result (SEER) data, linked to U.S. Census and Medicare data and examined 3,828 older women, who were diagnosed with stage I or Stage II breast cancer. The findings of the study appear in the online March 15, issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.
Contact: Eileen LaSusa
Medical College of Wisconsin