Geography Matters: Imaging Overuse Seen for Breast, Prostate Cancer in Certain Regions across the U.S.

“Where you receive medical care impacts many things — including whether or not you receive inappropriate medical tests, according to a new study.

“Researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center and its Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, in a new retrospective study publishing online March 12th in JAMA Oncology, conclude that patients with low-risk prostate or breast cancer were more or less likely to receive inappropriate imaging during treatment, depending on the region of the country in which they received medical care.

“They examined medical records from 2004-2007 of 9,219 men with low-risk prostate cancer and 30,398 women with low-risk breast cancer, across 84 separate hospital referral regions (HRRs). They conclude that overuse of imaging occurred at a rate of approximately 44.4% for men and nearly 42% for women in the study.

“Equally important, inappropriate use of imaging was strongly linked to certain regions across the U.S. in which patients were treated. For example, HRRs in the Northeast reported higher use of imaging tests for low-risk patients, while other regions, such as the Northwest and Utah, demonstrated more appropriate use of imaging.