Wisconsin Collaborative for Quality Healthcare

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PET Scan or PET-CT Scan for Surveillance

The American Society of Clinical Oncology's Choosing Wisely® list recommends against performing a positron emission tomography (PET) scan or a positron emission tomography--computed tomography (PET-CT) scan for routine breast cancer surveillance for recurrence in asymptomatic patients who have been treated with curative intent, citing their unproven effectiveness in improving survival. PET/PET-CT scan may be indicated if there is concern for disease recurrence (e.g., development of symptoms or lab abnormalities) or to follow-up a prior abnormal PET/PET-CT scan finding.

The results below represent the percentage of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer between 7/1/2014 to 12/31/2014 who received PET scans or PET-CT scans later than 6 months from their definitive breast surgery date. These results are consistently calculated based on strict inclusion and measurement criteria applied to each institution's billing data. The exceptions noted above (i.e., development of symptoms or lab abnormalities) are not reflected in these criteria since they cannot be determined through billing data. The chance that results are biased is minimal since patients of different health systems are unlikely to differ systematically in the likelihood of these exceptions.

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Note: Results presented here are part of a federal grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded to investigators at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The organizations participating in this project agreed to do so on a voluntary basis, and represent a majority of the WCHQ membership eligible for the study.