Diffusion of breast conserving surgery in medical communities

Bonnie Jerome-D'Emilia, James W. Begun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Excluding skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. Due to an increased focus on early detection, many more cases of breast cancer are now diagnosed at an early stage, which makes the use of breast conserving surgery (BCS) an efficacious and often more desirable treatment choice than mastectomy. An analysis of the variation in the use of BCS in the United States was performed using data from the years 1988 and 1994, and stratifying hospitals on the basis of teaching status. In both 1988 and 1994, BCS was highest in academic teaching hospitals and lowest in community hospitals. This finding is interpreted within the framework of classical diffusion theory. Social and cultural norms in local medical communities have a strong effect on the degree to which innovations diffuse rapidly or not. This analysis is useful in the understanding of geographic and hospital-based variations in treatment for early stage breast cancer and other illnesses that have long and strongly held traditions of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Breast cancer treatment USA
  • Breast conserving surgery
  • Diffusion theory
  • Medical innovation


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