Evaluating potential overuse of surveillance care in cancer survivors

Jennifer Y. Sheng, Claire F. Snyder, Katherine C. Smith, Jennifer DeSanto, Nancy Mayonado, Susan Rall, Sharon White, Amanda L. Blackford, Fabian M. Johnston, Robert L. Joyner, Joan Mischtschuk, Kimberly S. Peairs, Elissa Thorner, Phuoc T. Tran, Antonio C. Wolff, Youngjee Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Survivorship care plans (SCPs) communicate cancer-related information from oncology providers to patients and primary care providers. SCPs may limit overuse testing by specifying necessary follow-up care. From a randomized, controlled trial of SCP delivery, we examined whether cancer-related tests not specified in SCPs, but conducted after SCP receipt, were appropriate or consistent with overuse. Methods: Survivors of breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer treated at urban-academic or rural-community health systems were randomized to one of three SCP delivery arms. Tests during 18 months after SCP receipt were classified as consistent with overuse if they were (1) not included in SCPs and (2) on a guideline-based predetermined list of “not recommended surveillance.” After chart abstraction, physicians performed review and adjudication of potential overuse. Descriptive analyses were conducted of tests consistent with overuse. Negative binomial regression models determined if testing consistent with overuse differed across study arms. Results: Among 316 patients (137 breast, 67 colorectal, 112 prostate), 140 individual tests were identified as potential overuse. Upon review, 98 were deemed to be consistent with overuse: 78 tumor markers and 20 imaging tests. The majority of overuse testing was breast cancer-related (95%). Across sites, 27 patients (9%) received ≥1 test consistent with overuse; most were breast cancer patients (22/27). Exploratory analyses of overuse test frequency by study arm showed no significant difference. Conclusions: This analysis identified practice patterns consistent with overuse of surveillance testing and can inform efforts to improve guideline-concordant care. Future interventions may include individual practice patterns and provider education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6139-6147
Number of pages9
JournalCancer medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • breast cancer
  • clinical cancer research
  • clinical observations
  • colorectal cancer
  • prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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