Authors: Quyyumi FF, Wright JD, Accordino MK, Buono D, Law CW, Hillyer GC, Neugut AI, Hershman DL
Title: Factors Associated With Follow-Up Care Among Women With Early-Stage Breast Cancer.
Journal: J Oncol Pract 15(1):e1-e9
Date: 2019 Jan
PubMed ID: 30407882
Abstract: PURPOSE: Follow-up guidelines vary widely among national organizations for patients with early-stage breast cancer treated with curative intent. We sought to evaluate the patterns and predictors of provider follow-up care within the first 5 years after diagnosis. METHODS: Using the SEER-Medicare linked data set, we evaluated patients who were diagnosed with stage I and II breast cancer who underwent breast-conserving surgery from 2002 to 2007 with follow-up until 2012. We defined discontinuation of follow-up as > 12 months from the previous physician visit without a visit claim from either a surgeon, medical oncologist, or radiation oncologist. We performed a multivariable logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards regression analysis to determine factors associated with the discontinuation of follow-up care. RESULTS: Of the 30,053 patients enrolled in our initial cohort, 25,781 (85.8%) saw a medical oncologist and 21,612 (71.9%) saw a radiation oncologist in the first year in addition to a surgeon. Over the 5 years, 6,302 patients (21.0%) discontinued follow-up visits. Discontinuation of physician visits increased with increasing age. Women with stage II cancer ( v stage I) were less likely to discontinue follow-up visits (odds ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.83). Time to early discontinuation was greater for patients with hormone receptor-negative tumors (hazard ratio, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.24). Women who were diagnosed more recently were less likely to discontinue seeing any physician. CONCLUSION: Twenty-one percent of patients with early-stage breast cancer discontinued seeing any oncology provider over the 5 years after diagnosis. Coordination of follow-up care between oncology specialists may reduce discontinuation rates and increase clinical efficiency.