Frequency of computed tomography examinations in the follow-up care of testicular cancer patients - an evaluation of patterns of care in Germany - Abstract

Background: Exposure to radiation resulting from diagnostic imaging procedures probably increases late cancer risk.

Patterns of care regarding the application of computed tomography (CT) imaging in testicular cancer patients were investigated.

Methods: The database of a large German health insurance company comprising 850,000 insured men was searched for cases of testicular cancer arising in the years 2005 and 2006. The number of CT scans applied during a 3-year period of follow-up was noted for each individual patient and the resulting cumulative radiation dose was estimated. The number of CT scans actually observed was compared to guideline recommendations.

Results: 177 patients were identified. Within the 3-year observation period, patients received a mean of 4.4 CT scans (standard error: 0.4) whereas a number of 6.2 would have been expected according to contemporary guidelines. Patients were exposed to an estimated total median diagnostic radiation dose of 30 millisieverts (mSv) (interquartile range: 10-54 mSv).

Conclusion: There is a considerable gap between recommendation and actual performance regarding the number of CT scans applied to testicular cancer patients. Unfamiliarity of clinicians with guidelines as well as poor acceptance of high numbers of CT scans scheduled may have contributed to create this particular pattern of care.

Written by:
Rusner C, Stang A, Dieckmann KP, Friedel H.   Are you the author?
Institut für Klinische Epidemiologie, Medizinische Fakultät, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany.

Reference: Onkologie. 2013;36(4):188-92.
doi: 10.1159/000349952

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 23548967 Testicular Cancer Section