Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 131, Issue 2, pp 663–670 | Cite as

Use of high technology imaging for surveillance of early stage breast cancer

  • K. S. Panageas
  • C. S. Sima
  • L. Liberman
  • D. Schrag


Guidelines do not support utilization of high technology radiologic imaging (HTRI) for surveillance after curative treatment for early stage breast cancer. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked data were used to identify 25,555 women diagnosed with stage I–II breast cancer between 1998 and 2003 who survived ≥48 months from diagnosis without evidence of second primary or recurrent cancer in this interval. HTRI utilization (computerized tomography scanning (CT), bone scan (BS), breast magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography scans) was measured in months 13–48 post-diagnosis. Cases were individually matched to 75,669 female Medicare enrollees without cancer. Factors associated with HTRI utilization were evaluated. Forty percent of women with stage I–II breast cancer and 25% of controls had ≥1 HTRI during the surveillance interval (P < 0.001). High utilization rates were observed for CT (30%) and BSs (19%). The proportion of women who had a CT during the surveillance period increased in both cancer survivors and controls. Among breast cancer cases age <80, higher comorbidity index, stage II disease, and more recent diagnosis were independently associated with receipt of HTRI. Paralleling patterns observed in controls, HTRI utilization for surveillance following diagnosis of early stage breast cancer has steadily increased among Medicare beneficiaries. Strategies to foster judicious utilization of HTRI should be a priority.


Breast cancer surveillance High technology imaging SEER-Medicare 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. S. Panageas
    • 1
  • C. S. Sima
    • 1
  • L. Liberman
    • 2
  • D. Schrag
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medical OncologyDana-Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA

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