Using a standard collection form designed by a multidisciplinary committee of specialists, cancer registrars at 703 hospitals submitted anonymous data on 11,721 patients with cervical cancer diagnosed during 2 study years, 1984 and 1990. Information concerning the initial use of diagnostic assessments was analyzed with respect to the potential influences of clinical stage, patient age, race/ethnicity, insurance status, and modalities of therapy employed. Estimates of the yield of diagnostic information for each test were correlated with clinical stage and patient age. Judged by the number of procedures performed, the intensity of pretreatment assessment declined between 1984 and 1990. Substantially increased use of the newer body imaging modalities (computerized axial tomography and magnetic resonance imaging) with high probabilities of revealing abnormalities attributed to cancer, balanced major declines in utilization of procedures historically important in staging and assessment (cystoscopy, proctoscopy, barium enema, excretory urography (intravenous pyelogram), bone scintography, and lymphangiography). Race/ethnicity and insurance status had no discernible independent impact on the intensity of diagnostic evaluation. Patients with more advanced clinical stages underwent more extensive testing, as did patients treated initially with radiation compared to surgery. Periodic review of assessment strategies would seem prudent to avoid widening discrepancies between sanctioned staging formalisms with endorsed and authorized appraisals and actual clinical practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology