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J Clin Oncol. 2006 Jan 1;24(1):77-84.

Patterns of care in early-stage breast cancer survivors in the first year after cessation of active treatment.

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Department of Oncology, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Control Program, Washington, DC 20057, USA.



Patterns of health care use have not been well described for breast cancer survivors. The purpose of this study was to describe the health service use in a survivor cohort.


Women with stage I or II breast cancer were recruited (n = 558) after primary treatment for a multicenter, randomized trial of psychoeducational interventions for facilitating transition to survivorship; 418 women completed the study. Participants completed calendar diaries detailing health care use for 1 year after treatment. Services were coded using Current Procedural Terminology-Fourth Edition codes; costs were estimated using year 2000 Medicare reimbursements.


Health care use diary data were available for 391 women (70% of the sample). On average, these survivors reported 30 episodes of health service use in the year after treatment. Total annual costs of care averaged more than 1,800 dollars per survivor; medical office visits were the major component of costs. Type of cancer treatment, depression, and physical function and comorbid illness were independent predictors of the costs of services. There were geographic variations in initial local treatment patterns and in post-treatment costs. Notably, all women should have received surveillance mammography in the time period, but only 61.9% did so; the odds of mammogram receipt were higher for women who had a lumpectomy (v mastectomy) and women who were white (v nonwhite).


Use of health services is frequent and intensive in the first year after treatment for breast cancer. Despite frequent contact with the health care system, there is room for improvement in providing guideline-suggested surveillance mammography for survivors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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