Developing the follow-up schedules for women with breast cancer

Lee Cheng, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: The follow-up care for women with breast cancer requires an understanding of disease recurrence patterns and the follow-up visit schedule should be determined according to the times when the recurrence are most likely to occur, so that preventive measure can be taken to avoid or minimize the recurrence. Objective: To model breast cancer recurrence through stochastic process with an aim to generate a hazard function for determining a follow-up schedule. Methods: We modeled the process of disease progression as the time transformed Weiner process and the first-hitting-time was used as an approximation of the true failure time. The women's "recurrence-free survival time" or a "not having the recurrence event" is modeled by the time it takes Weiner process to cross a threshold value which represents a woman experiences breast cancer recurrence event. We explored threshold regression model which takes account of covariates that contributed to the prognosis of breast cancer following development of the first-hitting time model. Using real data from SEER-Medicare, we proposed models of follow-up visits schedule on the basis of constant probability of disease recurrence between consecutive visits. Results: We demonstrated that the threshold regression based on first-hitting-time modeling approach can provide useful predictive information about breast cancer recurrence. Our results suggest the surveillance and follow-up schedule can be determined for women based on their prognostic factors such as tumor stage and others. Women with early stage of disease may be seen less frequently for follow-up visits than those women with locally advanced stages. Our results from SEER-Medicare data support the idea of risk-controlled follow-up strategies for groups of women. Conclusion: The methodology we proposed in this study allows one to determine individual follow-up scheduling based on a parametric hazard function that incorporates known prognostic factors.

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Recommended Citation

Cheng, Lee, "Developing the follow-up schedules for women with breast cancer" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3552556.