Patient surveillance after initial breast cancer therapy: Variation by physician specialty

Rina Parmeshwar, Julie A. Margenthaler, Emad Allam, Ling Chen, Katherine S. Virgo, Frank E. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) guidelines recommend only office visits and mammograms as the primary modalities for patient surveillance after treatment for breast carcinoma. This study aimed to quantify differences in posttreatment surveillance among medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgeons. Methods: We e-mailed a survey to the 3,245 ASCO members who identified themselves as having breast cancer as a major focus of their practices. Questions assessed the frequency of use of 12 specific surveillance modalities for 5 posttreatment years. Results: Of 1,012 total responses, 846 were evaluable: 5% from radiation oncologists, 70% from medical oncologists, and 10% from surgeons; 15% were unspecified. Marked variation in surveillance practices were noted within each specialty and among specialties. Conclusion: There are notable variations in surveillance intensity. This suggests overuse or underuse or misuse of scarce medical resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-222
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Breast cancer
  • Follow-up
  • Medical oncologist
  • Radiation oncologist
  • Surgeon
  • Surveillance


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