Breast cancer patients often undergo unneeded scans at time of prognosis

More than one-third of younger, early-stage breast cancer patients undergo unnecessary imaging procedures at the time of prognosis and staging, according to research presented last week at the 2013 CTRC-San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

In a retrospective study of more than 40,000 women who had an initial diagnosis of breast cancer, researchers from MD Anderson Cancer Center found that 37 percent of early stage breast cancer patients had at least one claim for an unnecessary staging test, with minimal change in rate of that average over a five-year period.

Senior author Sharon Giordano, professor and chair of health services research at MD Anderson, said the study sheds light on the issue of over-use and over-care, and offers support to physicians who decide not to order unnecessary tests.

"Often, doctors think they're not being good to their patients if they don't do all they can. Yet there's been a shift in focus to doing what matters for the patient and what's proven to improve outcomes, rather than testing for the sake of testing," Giordano said. "Ultimately, our goal is to bring the best care and value care to our patients." Announcement

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