Annual mammogram sufficient follow-up after BCT for breast cancer patients

March 15, 2016

They write that their data "suggest that with respect to breast radiation therapy, much of the variation in cost can be directly attributed to inconsistent treatment definitions and reimbursement rates authorized by Medicare and its intermediaries."

In an accompanying editorial, Lisa A. Kachnic, M.D., of Boston University School of Medicine, and Simon N. Powell, M.D., Ph.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, note that the evidence supporting the routine use of inverse-planned IMRT for patients requiring breast only treatment is weak. They suggest that the true value of inverse- planned IMRT will most likely be for patients with complex anatomy or those with more advanced breast cancer who require comprehensive lymph node treatment such as radiation to the internal mammary nodal chain. IMRT may also help to protect the underlying lung and heart, they say. However large randomized trials are needed to determine whether it actually has these benefits.

In the meantime, the editorialists write, this study "appears to confirm the suspicion of many, both within and outside of the healthcare industry, that medical decision making is too heavily influenced by reimbursement rather than medical necessity."

Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute