Medicare beneficiaries with breast cancer who had a greater number of visits to primary care physicians in the two years preceding their diagnosis have better breast cancer outcomes, including greater use of mammography, reduced odds of late-stage diagnosis, and lower overall and breast cancer mortality.
Analyzing data on more than 105,000 female Medicare beneficiaries with breast cancer, researchers found women who had 10 or more office visits were 50 percent less likely to have late-stage cancer diagnosed and had 41 percent lower breast cancer mortality, as well as 27 percent lower overall mortality, compared with women having one or no visits.
The authors assert the improved outcomes are partly explained by greater use of mammography and resultant earlier stage diagnosis. The authors conclude the findings suggest adequate primary medical care may be an important factor in achieving optimal outcomes for breast cancer patients.
“Influence of Primary Care on Breast Cancer Outcomes Among Medicare Beneficiaries”
By Richard G. Roetzheim, MD, MSPH
University of South Florida