HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Physician Specialties Involved in Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: Implications for Improving Health Care Disparities.
Radhakrishnan A, Reyes-Gastelum D, Abrahamse P, Gay B, Hawley ST, Wallner LP, Chen DW, Hamilton AS, Ward KC, Haymart MR. Physician Specialties Involved in Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: Implications for Improving Health Care Disparities. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2022 Feb 17; 107(3):e1096-e1105.
Little is known about provider specialties involved in thyroid cancer diagnosis and management.
Characterize providers involved in diagnosing and treating thyroid cancer.
We surveyed patients with differentiated thyroid cancer from the Georgia and Los Angeles County Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registries (N = 2632, 63% response rate). Patients identified their primary care physicians (PCPs), who were also surveyed (N = 162, 56% response rate).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
(1) Patient-reported provider involvement (endocrinologist, surgeon, PCP) at diagnosis and treatment; (2) PCP-reported involvement (more vs less) and comfort (more vs less) with discussing diagnosis and treatment.
Among thyroid cancer patients, 40.6% reported being informed of their diagnosis by their surgeon, 37.9% by their endocrinologist, and 13.5% by their PCP. Patients reported discussing their treatment with their surgeon (71.7%), endocrinologist (69.6%), and PCP (33.3%). Physician specialty involvement in diagnosis and treatment varied by patient race/ethnicity and age. For example, Hispanic patients (vs non-Hispanic White) were more likely to report their PCP informed them of their diagnosis (odds ratio [OR]: 1.68; 95% CI, 1.24-2.27). Patients = 65 years (vs < 45 years) were more likely to discuss treatment with their PCP (OR: 1.59; 95% CI, 1.22-2.08). Although 74% of PCPs reported discussing their patients'' diagnosis and 62% their treatment, only 66% and 48%, respectively, were comfortable doing so.
PCPs were involved in thyroid cancer diagnosis and treatment, and their involvement was greater among older patients and patients of minority race/ethnicity. This suggests an opportunity to leverage PCP involvement in thyroid cancer management to improve health and quality of care outcomes for vulnerable patients.