Clinical practice guidelines for long-term follow-up of early breast cancer patients developed by oncology societies in the Europe recommend that breast cancer survivors undergo regulars evaluation with history and physical examinations, as well as annual mammography. Routine blood tests, tumor markers and/or surveillance imaging studies beyond mammography are not recommended. However, variations in patterns of cancer surveillance have been identified.
The aim of this study was to analyze usual patterns of follow up among oncologist in Croatia.
We conducted a questionnaire /during our annual meeting/ among oncologist who are practicing in public hospitals or academic medical centers in Croatia. The questionnaire covered questions about patterns of follow-up of asymptomatic women with early breast cancer.
Oncologist’s responses were anonymized and entered into a secure database for analysis.
10% of oncologist report they usually follow up asymptomatic breast cancer patients with chest X-ray, abdominal ultrasound, bone scan and mammography, while 30% of oncologist use CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis scan and bone scan. Only 10% of oncologists adhere to the guidelines, using only mammography and physical examination. Around 40% responders never think about costs of a test or procedure they order.
Despite well established guidelines for surveillance of breast cancer patients, nearly half of the oncologist surveyed use tests that provide little or no value to the asymptomatic patients with early breast cancer. Oncologist in Croatia should reconsider use of this tests in order to improve the value and reduce costs of care that is provided.We expect that finding of this study will help clinicians and policy-makers improve cancer care.