Reports Find Variation in Prostate, Breast Cancer Treatments Across Calif.
Treatments for prostate and breast cancer vary in California depending on where patients live, according to two reports released by the California HealthCare Foundation, the Contra Costa Times reports.
CHCF publishes California Healthline.
Findings on Prostate Cancer Treatment
The report on prostate cancer treatment found that physicians in Tracy use internal radiation to treat men for prostate cancer at more than four times the state average, the highest rate in California.
Meanwhile, men living 60 miles awayÂ near Stanford UniversityÂ undergo the same procedure about half as often as the state average, according to the report.
Findings on Breast Cancer Treatment
The report on breast cancer treatment found that women in Livermore undergo a lumpectomy without radiation to treat early stage breast cancer at 192% of the state average.
In San Mateo, women undergo the treatment at 64% of the state average, according to the report.
Comments on Findings
Researchers said that the variations in care indicate that physicians often determine which treatments will be used, rather than patients or medical science.
Matthew Cooperberg -- a member of the advisory committee for the study and an assistant professor in the departments of urology and epidemiology and biostatistics at UC-San Francisco -- said, "There are very different financial incentives for one treatment over another."Â
Maribeth Shannon -- director of CHCF's market and policy monitor program -- said, "Physicians, for whatever reason, get comfortable with a particular treatment," adding, "There's not as much true shared decision-making as there should be."She said that if patients played a bigger role in deciding their treatments, there would be less variation in prostate and breast cancer care across the state (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 5/21). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.