Background: Regular follow-up after treatment for breast cancer is crucial to detect potential recurrences and second contralateral breast cancer in an early stage. However, information about follow-up patterns in the Netherlands is scarce.
Patients and methods: Details concerning diagnostic procedures and policlinic visits in the first 5 years following a breast cancer diagnosis were gathered between 2009 and 2019 for 9916 patients from 4 large Dutch hospitals. This information was used to analyze the adherence of breast cancer surveillance to guidelines in the Netherlands. Multivariable logistic regression was used to relate the average number of a patient's imaging procedures to their demographics, tumor-treatment characteristics, and individual locoregional recurrence risk (LRR), estimated by a risk-prediction tool, called INFLUENCE.
Results: The average number of policlinic contacts per patient decreased from 4.4 in the first to 2.0 in the fifth follow-up year. In each of the 5 follow-up years, the share of patients without imaging procedures was relatively high, ranging between 31.4% and 33.6%. Observed guidelines deviations were highly significant (P < .001). A higher age, lower UICC stage, and having undergone radio- or chemotherapy were significantly associated with a higher chance of receiving an imaging procedure. The estimated average LRR-risk was 3.5% in patients without any follow-up imaging compared with 2.3% in patients with the recommended number of 5 imagings.
Conclusion: Compared to guidelines, more policlinic visits were made, although at inadequate intervals, and fewer imaging procedures were performed. The frequency of imaging procedures did not correlate with the patients' individual risk profiles for LRR.
Keywords: breast cancer; daily clinical practice; follow-up; guideline adherence; health services research.
© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press.