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.


Geography May Limit Access to Cancer Clinical Trials

“Where advanced cancer patients live affects the likelihood that they can enroll in a treatment clinical trial, a new study found.

“Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. cancer patients participate in clinical trials, the authors note.

“ ‘Clinical trials are the basis for the vast majority of advances in cancer care, so, the only way to move the field forward is for patients to participate in clinical trials,’ said lead author Dr. Matthew D. Galsky of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

“ ‘In addition, participation in clinical trials may offer patients access to a novel treatment, that ultimately goes on to markedly change the outlook for patients with the disease, but is not otherwise available outside of the context of a trial,’ Galsky told Reuters Health by email.

“Some data has suggested that patients who participate in clinical trials may have better outcomes regardless of the treatment they receive, which could be due to the very close follow-up, and strict guidelines, for management of patients enrolled in trials, he said.”


Wide Variation in Lung Cancer Rates Globally, Study Finds

“Lung cancer rates are dropping in young women in many regions of the globe, the only recent comprehensive analysis of lung cancer rates for women around the world finds. The study points to the success of tobacco control efforts around the world. Lung cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer death in women worldwide. An estimated 491,200 women died of lung cancer in 2012, more than half (57%) of whom resided in economically developing countries.”