Physician characteristics are associated with quality of cancer care

January 29, 2008

Whether a woman receives radiation after breast cancer surgery may be associated with certain characteristics of her surgeon, including sex and medical training, according to a study published online January 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Many breast cancer patients do not receive radiation after undergoing breast conservation surgery, despite the fact that this treatment is considered a standard of quality cancer care and has been shown to reduce breast cancer recurrence. Previous studies have shown that certain patient characteristics, such as a patient’s race and distance from a radiation therapy facility, are associated with receiving post-surgical radiation. But it has been unclear whether physician characteristics also play a role in the quality of breast cancer care.

Dawn Hershman, M.D., of Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University in New York and colleagues investigated whether surgeon characteristics were associated with a patient receiving radiation after breast cancer surgery. They identified and analyzed data on nearly 30,000 women aged 65 and older with breast cancer who were diagnosed between 1991 and 2002 and who received breast-conserving surgery. They also collected information on the 4,453 surgeons who operated on these women—including their sex, year of graduation, medical school location, patient volume, and type of medical degree.

About 75 percent of the women received radiation after surgery. Each year from 1991 to 2002, the proportion of women receiving radiation increased. Nonetheless, older women, black women, unmarried women, and those living outside urban areas were less likely to receive radiation. After adjusting for patient and tumor characteristics, the researchers found that women who received radiation were more likely to have a surgeon who was female, had an M.D. degree (compared to a D.O. degree), or was trained in the United States.

“Our study is one of the first to demonstrate associations between certain surgeon characteristics and quality of breast cancer care… If confirmed, more research is needed on whether they reflect surgeon behavior, patient response, or physician-patient interactions,” the authors write.

Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Explore further: How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

Related Stories

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Breast cancer treatment link to chronic disease

January 16, 2018
Women who have undergone hormonal therapy for breast cancer are at increased risk of developing chronic conditions later in life, according to new research.

Laser improves QOL for breast telangiectasia due to radiation

January 2, 2018
(HealthDay)—Laser monotherapy improves health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) in female patients with radiation-induced breast telangiectasias (RIBT), according to a study published online Dec. 20 in Lasers in Surgery ...

First stereotactic radiotherapy system designed for breast cancer receives FDA clearance

December 26, 2017
The GammaPod—a first-of-its kind stereotactic radiotherapy system to treat early stage breast cancer—has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), paving the way for the manufacturer ...

Targeting breast cancer through precision medicine

January 9, 2018
University of Alberta researchers have discovered a mechanism that may make cancer cells more susceptible to treatment. The research team found that the protein RYBP prevents DNA repair in cancer cells, including breast cancer.

Targeting cancer by sabotaging the DNA repair seesaw

January 3, 2018
A protein that cancer cells rely on to stave off cell death also helps them regulate DNA repair, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University (Winship) have discovered.

Recommended for you

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

Presurgical targeted therapy delays relapse of high-risk stage 3 melanoma

January 17, 2018
A pair of targeted therapies given before and after surgery for melanoma produced at least a six-fold increase in time to progression compared to standard-of-care surgery for patients with stage 3 disease, researchers at ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.