Receipt of Guideline-Concordant Care Among Older Women With Stage I–III Breast Cancer: A Population-Based Study

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Background: This study examined receipt of guideline-concordant care (GCC) according to evidence-based treatment guidelines and quality measures and specific types of treatment among older women with breast cancer. Patients and Methods: A total of 142,433 patients aged ≥66 years diagnosed with stage I–III breast cancer between 2007 and 2011 were identified in the SEER-Medicare linked database. Algorithms considering cancer characteristics and the appropriate course of care as per guidelines versus actual care received determined receipt of GCC. Multivariable logistic regression estimated the likelihood of GCC and specific types of treatment for women aged ≥75 versus 66 to 74 years. Results: Overall, 39.7% of patients received GCC. Patients diagnosed at stage II or III, with certain preexisting conditions, and of nonwhite race were less likely to receive GCC. Patients with hormone-negative tumors, higher grade tumors, and greater access to oncology care resources were more likely to receive GCC. Patients aged ≥75 years were approximately 40% less likely to receive GCC or adjuvant endocrine therapy, 78% less likely to have any surgery, 61% less likely to have chemotherapy, and about half as likely to have radiation therapy than those aged 66 to 74 years. Conclusions: Fewer than half of older women with breast cancer received GCC, with the lowest rates observed among the oldest age groups, racial/ethnic minorities, and women with later-stage cancers. However, patients with more aggressive tumor characteristics and greater access to oncology resources were more likely to receive GCC. Considering that older women have the highest incidence of breast cancer and that many are diagnosed at stages requiring more aggressive treatment, efforts to increase rates of earlier stage diagnosis and the development of less toxic treatments could help improve GCC and survival while preserving quality of life.

Author contributions: Study concept: LeMasters, Madhavan. Study design: All authors. Data analysis: LeMasters, Sambamoorthi, Hazard-Jenkins. Data interpretation: All authors. Manuscript preparation: LeMasters, Madhavan, Sambamoorthi. Critical revision: Madhavan, Sambamoorthi, Hazard-Jenkins, Kelly, Long.Correspondence: Traci LeMasters, PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Systems and Policy, Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, School of Pharmacy, West Virginia University, P.O. Box 9500, Morgantown, WV 26506-9500. Email: tlemasters@hsc.wvu.edu

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