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Ami Vyas, S. Suresh Madhavan, Usha Sambamoorthi, Xiaoyun (Lucy) Pan, Michael Regier, Hannah Hazard and Sita Kalidindi

Background: Understanding the patterns of healthcare utilization and costs during the initial phase of care (12 months after breast cancer [BC] diagnosis) in older women (aged ≥65 years) is crucial in the allocation of Medicare resources. The objective of this study was to determine healthcare utilization and costs during the initial phase of care in older, female, Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries diagnosed with BC, and to determine the factors associated with higher costs. Methods: A retrospective observational study using the SEER-Medicare linked database was conducted in 69,307 women aged ≥66 years diagnosed with primary incident BC in 2003–2009 to determine healthcare utilization, average costs, and costs for specific services during the initial phase of care. Generalized linear model regression was conducted to identify the factors associated with higher costs in a multivariate framework. Results: A total of 96% of women were treated with surgery during the initial phase of BC care, whereas 21% and 54% underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, respectively. Costs during the initial phase of care totalled $28,075 in 2012 USD, comprising $13,344 for physician services and $7,456 for outpatient services. Factors associated with higher costs during the initial phase of care were younger age (66–69 years), African American race, higher household income, advanced stages of BC, initial BC treatment, higher number of primary care physician visits, and presence of comorbidities and/or a mental condition. Conclusions: The economic burden of BC is substantial during the initial phase of care. Physician and outpatient services accounted for the highest proportion of costs. Predisposing factors, need-related factors, healthcare use, and external environmental healthcare factors significantly predicted costs during the initial phase of care.

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Traci LeMasters, S. Suresh Madhavan, Usha Sambamoorthi, Hannah W. Hazard-Jenkins, Kimberly M. Kelly and Dustin Long

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.