According to government estimates, the incidence of ovarian cancer is almost 13 per 100,000 women per year, and most cases are diagnosed in an advanced stage. As such, proper treatment is critical to ensure survival. However, Dr Melissa M. Thrall, fellow in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington, found that less than 40% of women reliant on Medicare receive standard care.
Primary care physicians are the entry point for care for many patients. They are often responsible for determining when additional expertise is needed and to which specialist a patient should go for additional care. Although studies have shown that gynecologic oncologists can improve surgical and survival outcomes for patients with ovarian cancer, the referral rate from primary care physicians to gynecologic oncologists remains relatively low.