Early-stage Breast Cancer Patients Often Undergo Costly, Unnecessary Post-treatment Testing

Early-stage Breast Cancer Patients Often Undergo Costly, Unnecessary Post-treatment Testing
Researchers found that women who have been treated for early-stage breast cancer and who no longer show symptoms are often advised to undergo advanced imaging and biomarker tests that have been proven unnecessary, could potentially be more harmful than beneficial, and could cost patients a significant amount of money. The study was led by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2017 Annual Meeting (June 2-6) on June 5 in Chicago. The poster presentation is titled “Patterns in provider types and cost of surveillance testing in early-stage breast cancer patients: A regional study.” The study linked cancer registry patient records in western Washington state with claims from the commercial insurers Premera and Regence. "Although ASCO Choosing Wisely guidelines recommend against routine surveillance testing, including advanced imaging for asymptomatic individuals with early-stage breast cancer who have undergone treatment, these costly procedures are frequently performed," Gary Lyman, co-director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research and the study's lead author, said in a press release. The ASCO guidelines were created to assist patients and their oncologists make more informed decisions regarding treatment options based on
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