Funded breast cancer screening/diagnosis decreases diagnostic delays

May 1, 2010

A case-management program that is part of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) has had a positive effect on the timeliness of care in women with an abnormal mammogram, according to a new report.

A case-management program that is part of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) has had a positive effect on the timeliness of care in women with an abnormal mammogram, according to a report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Since 1990, the BCCEDP has funded breast cancer screening and diagnostic services for low-income, underinsured women. Case management-to provide women whose mammograms indicate abnormalities with psychological support, to coordinate patient-doctor communications, and to reduce health-system barriers-was implemented in 2001 and was followed by the introduction of free treatment in 2004.

Investigators analyzed program data for more than 2,250 BCCEDP participants in Massachusetts from 1998 through 2007 to examine how case management and free treatment were associated with diagnostic and treatment delays. After case management was introduced, the proportion of women experiencing a diagnostic delay decreased from 33% to 23%; the association did not differ by race or ethnicity.

Case management was not associated with improvements in time to treatment, however, and free treatment was not associated with changes in either diagnostic or treatment delays beyond improvements associated with case management.