Results of an economic evaluation of a RCT of routine follow-up after primary treatment for breast cancer: A comparison of primary care vs specialist care
Grunfeld E., Gray A., Mant D., Coyle D., Yudkin P., Fitzpatrick R., Vessey MP.
Follow-up after primary treatment for breast cancer is a routine practice aiming at early detection and management of local recurrences and/or distant metastases of the disease or of new primaries. Breast self-examination and periodic physical examination, mammography, and pelvic examination are the most important methods in following-up these patients. The, at one time, more popular intensive routine diagnostic evaluation (including head, chest, abdominal, and pelvic computerized tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging, liver ultrasonography, bone scans, tumor markers, etc.) is not currently considered appropriate and cost-effective. However, flexibility, based on clinical judgement, is required on the part of medical staff involved in the follow-up in order appropriately to adapt the general guidelines and meet the specific needs of the individual patients. Non-specialist or non-physician models of follow-up care have been proposed as interesting and cost-effective alternatives in the follow-up of breast cancer patients.