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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2000 Dec 1;48(5):1291-9.

The 1993-94 patterns of care process survey for breast irradiation after breast-conserving surgery-comparison with the 1992 standard for breast conservation treatment. The Patterns of Care Study, American College of Radiology.

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  • 1J. C. Robinson M.D. Regional Cancer Center, Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo, CA, USA.



To determine the patterns of evaluation and treatment in the U.S. of women with early breast cancer treated with breast-conserving surgery and irradiation in 1993-94, and to compare these with a similar survey in 1983 and with the 1992 Standard for Breast Conservation Treatment.


In 1995-96, 727 randomly selected records of eligible patients treated from 1993-94 at 62 facilities representative of 3 practice types were reviewed.


Compared with the Process Survey (PS) in 1983, patients in the 1993-94 study had an older age distribution. In the current study, 70% of patients were > or = 50 years of age, and 69% were post-menopausal, compared with 59% > or = 50 years of age and 49% post-menopausal in 1983 (p = 0.0087 and < 0.001, respectively). Work-up and evaluation in the 1993-94 PS were closely aligned with the standard and were considerably improved compared with 1983. In the 1983 study, 77% of patients underwent mammography, as compared to 97% in the 1993-94 study. In 1983, pathological size documentation was performed in 83% of patients; in 1993-94, this was performed in 95% of patients. An estrogen receptor evaluation was performed in 36% of patients in 1983; in 1993-94, that increased to 76%. In 1983, 28% of patients underwent progesterone receptor evaluation; in 1993-94, this increased to 72%. Only 3% of patients in 1993-94 were enrolled in a clinical trial. Radiation treatment parameters closely adhered to standard recommendations, improving substantially from 1983. In 1983, wedge or compensator use was recommended for 64% of patients; in 1993-94, for 95% of patients. In 1983, 4-8 MV photons were recommended for breast treatment in 67% of patients; in 1993-94, 90%. In 1983, bolus was avoided in 75% of patients; in 1993-94, in 94%. In 1983, the recommended breast dose for 89% of patients was 45-50 Gy (44-51 Gy in PS); in 1993-94 this had increased to 99% of patients. In 1983, electrons were recommended for primary site boost in 70% of patients; in 1993-94, for 94% of patients.


There was an extensive shift to adherence to the 1992 standard in 1993-94, compared with the 1983 PS, although there is room for improvement in some areas.

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