Surveillance for Colon, Breast Ca Falls Off 5 Years After Diagnosis

April 1, 2006
Oncology NEWS International, Oncology NEWS International Vol 15 No 4, Volume 15, Issue 4

Surveillance screening for colon and breast cancer appears to diminish 5 years after the original diagnosis.

AMELIA ISLAND, Florida—Surveillance screening for colon and breast cancer appears to diminish 5 years after the original diagnosis, according to data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) presented at the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) Third Annual Conference (abstract P4-5). Such lapses in screening may be risky in light of the fact that cancer survivors are at increased risk of another cancer diagnosis, said Peter C. Trask, PhD, MPH, associate director, Oncology Worldwide Outcomes Research, Pfizer Inc., New London, Connecticut.

Dr. Trask, who is also an adjunct assistant professor at Brown University, and his colleagues, studied the responses from adults who were diagnosed with cancer and had completed the NHIS and Cancer Control Module in 2000. Of those who responded, 1,075 reported that they were diagnosed with a cancer for which there is a common surveillance exam. These included breast (n = 368), cervical (n = 194), colon (n = 176), melanoma (n = 126), and prostate (n = 211).

Women diagnosed with breast cancer and individuals diagnosed with colon cancer within the past 5 years were more likely to have had surveillance screening exams within the past year than breast and colon cancer survivors diagnosed more than 5 years ago. This finding held even after adjusting for age, sex, race, education, marital status, income, and insurance coverage, Dr. Trask reported.

By contrast, surveillance screening did not fall off among patients diagnosed with prostate or cervical cancer or melanoma. These survivors were no more likely than survivors diagnosed more than 5 years ago to have reported a surveillance exam within the past year.