Quality of Cancer Treatment Depends on Doctor’s “Characteristics”

by John McKiggan

The medical treatement that cancer patients receive depends on the personal characteristics on the doctor treating the patient, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

According to the study:

…adjuvant radiotherapy following breast conservation surgery (BCS) is considered to be an indicator of quality of care for the majority of women with breast cancer, but many women do not receive adjuvant radiotherapy.

The study confirmed the results of previous research that indicated a patient’s personal characteristics (age, race, marital status etc.) determined the level of care received.

However, the study also found that the doctors characteristics also played a role in whether patients received the expeceted level of care. The study found that patients were more likely to receive adjuvant radiotherapy if they had a surgeon who was female, had a medical degree (as opposed to an osteopathicdegree), or was trained in the United States.

Given the differences in the delivery of medical care here in Canada and the United States, one cannot assume the reports findings would carry over to Canada. But the issue is one worth studying.

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