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  • Author: K. Robin Yabroff x
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Ashish Rai, Xuesong Han, Zhiyuan Zheng, K. Robin Yabroff and Ahmedin Jemal

Background: Despite the surge of interest in improving provider communication, empirical research is sparse on the determinants and outcomes of cancer survivors' satisfaction with healthcare provider communication. Methods: Longitudinal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data spanning 2008 through 2014 was used to identify 4,588 respondents who were ever diagnosed with cancer. A composite score was generated by combining 5 measures of satisfaction. We used multivariate logistic regressions and 2-part models to examine the associations between satisfaction ratings and outcomes, including general, mental, and physical health; office visits; and total healthcare, drug, and out-of-pocket expenditures. Results: The study sample comprised 2,257 nonelderly (age 18–64 years) and 2,331 elderly (age ≥65 years) respondents. Among both age groups, higher satisfaction was associated with fewer comorbidities, fewer year 1 office visits, and absence of year 1 emergency department visits. Membership of higher satisfaction tertile in year 1 was associated with better year 2 mental health (tertile 1 [T1]: predictive margin [PM], 27.1%; tertile 2 [T2]: PM, 35.5%; P=.013; tertile 3 [T3]: PM, 37.0%; P=.005) and general health (T1 [ref]: PM, 30.3%; T3: PM, 38.9%; P=.007) among the elderly. Greater satisfaction was associated with fewer year 2 office visits (T1 [ref]: PM, 7.42 visits; T3: PM, 6.26 visits; P=.038) among the nonelderly; and lower year 2 healthcare expenditures (T1 [ref]: PM, $34,071; T3: PM, $26,995; P=.049) among the elderly. Conclusions: We identified potential differences in cancer survivors' needs and expectations of provider communication based on comorbidities and baseline service use. These results emphasize the need for individualized communication strategies for patients with cancer and survivors shaped by their distinct requirements. Our findings of better health, lower service use, and lower expenditures among more satisfied cancer survivors suggest that interventions to improve provider communication could lead to a more efficient use of healthcare resources.

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Helmneh M. Sineshaw, K. Robin Yabroff, V. Liana Tsikitis, Ahmedin Jemal and Timur Mitin

Background: Elderly patients with rectal cancer have been excluded from randomized studies, thus little is known about their early postoperative mortality, which is critical for informed consent and treatment decisions. This study examined early mortality after surgery in elderly patients with locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC). Methods: Using the National Cancer Database, we identified patients aged ≥75 years, diagnosed with clinical stage II/III rectal cancer who underwent surgery in 2004 through 2015. Descriptive analyses determined proportions and trends and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to determine factors associated with early mortality after rectal cancer surgery. Results: Among 11,794 patients with rectal cancer aged ≥75 years, approximately 6% underwent local excision and 94% received radical resection. Overall 30-day, 90-day, and 6-month postoperative mortality rates were 4.2%, 7.8%, and 11.5%, respectively. Six-month mortality varied by age (8.4% in age 75–79 years to 18.3% in age ≥85 years), and comorbidity score (10.1% for comorbidity score 0 to 17.7% for comorbidity score ≥2). Six-month mortality declined from 12.3% in 2004 through 2007 to 10.2% in 2012 through 2015 (P trend=.0035). Older age, higher comorbidity score, and lower facility case volume were associated with higher 6-month mortality. Patients treated at NCI-designated centers had 30% lower odds of 6-month mortality compared with those treated at teaching/research centers. Conclusions: Six-month mortality rates after surgery among patients aged ≥75 years with LARC have declined steadily over the past decade in the United States. Older age, higher comorbidity score, and care at a low-case-volume facility were associated with higher 6-month mortality after surgery. This information is necessary for informed consent and decisions regarding optimal management of elderly patients with LARC.

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Matthew P. Banegas, Linda C. Harlan, Bhupinder Mann and K. Robin Yabroff

Several new agents have become available to treat renal cell cancer (RCC) in recent years, although evidence on their dissemination is limited. This study examined recent trends in RCC treatment in US community practices. Data from the population-based National Cancer Institute’s Patterns of Care studies were used to evaluate treatment of patients with RCC newly diagnosed in 2004 and 2009 (N=2357). Descriptive statistics and logistic and Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to assess treatment patterns and the associations among demographic, clinical, and hospital characteristics, with receipt of systemic therapy and time-to-systemic treatment. Between 2004 and 2009, systemic therapy use increased among patients with stage III and IV RCC, from 3.8% to 15.7% and 35.2% to 57.4%, respectively. Among patients with stage IV disease, the most commonly used therapies changed from interleukin-2 (16.3%) and interferon-alfa (16.6%) in 2004 to sunitinib (39.2%) and temsirolimus (15.2%) in 2009. Further, notable decreases were seen in the use of surgery and time-to-systemic treatment for patients with stage IV disease. Patients who were older, living in areas with lower educational attainment, and diagnosed in 2004 were significantly less likely to receive systemic therapy and had longer time-to-systemic treatment (P<.05). The findings indicate that over the past decade, treatment for RCC in the United States has evolved toward increased use of systemic therapy. As the diffusion of new therapies continues, it will be imperative to understand how variation in care for RCC will impact health outcomes and costs of care.

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Zhiyuan Zheng, Ahmedin Jemal, Reginald Tucker-Seeley, Matthew P. Banegas, Xuesong Han, Ashish Rai, Jingxuan Zhao and K. Robin Yabroff

Background: A cancer diagnosis can impose substantial medical financial burden on individuals and may limit their ability to work. However, less is known about worry for nonmedical financial needs and food insecurity among cancer survivors. Methods: The National Health Interview Survey (2013–2017) was used to identify cancer survivors (age 18–39 years, n=771; age 40–64 years, n=4,269; age ≥65 years, n=7,101) and individuals without a cancer history (age 18–39 years, n=53,262; age 40–64 years, n=60,141; age ≥65 years, n=30,261). For both cancer survivors and the noncancer group, adjusted proportions were generated for (1) financial worry (“very/moderately/not worried”) about retirement, standard of living, monthly bills, and housing costs; and (2) food insecurity (“often/sometimes/not true”) regarding whether food would run out, the fact that food bought did not last, and the inability to afford balanced meals. Further adjusted analyses examined intensity measures (“severe/moderate/minor or none”) of financial worry and food insecurity among cancer survivors only. Results: Compared with individuals without a cancer history, cancer survivors aged 18 to 39 years reported consistently higher “very worried” levels regarding retirement (25.5% vs 16.9%; P<.001), standard of living (20.4% vs 12.9%; P<.001), monthly bills (14.9% vs 10.3%; P=.002), and housing costs (13.6% vs 8.9%; P=.001); and higher “often true” levels regarding worry about food running out (7.9% vs 4.6%; P=.004), food not lasting (7.6% vs 3.3%; P=.003), and being unable to afford balanced meals (6.3% vs 3.4%; P=.007). Findings were not as consistent for cancer survivors aged 40 to 64 years. In contrast, results were generally similar for adults aged ≥65 years with/without a cancer history. Among cancer survivors, 57.6% (age 18–39 years; P<.001), 51.9% (age 40–64 years; P<.001), and 23.8% (age ≥65 years; referent) reported severe/moderate financial worry intensity, and 27.0% (age 18–39 years; P<.001), 14.8% (age 40–64 years; P<.001), and 6.3% (age ≥65 years; referent) experienced severe/moderate food insecurity intensity. Lower income and higher comorbidities were generally associated with greater intensities of financial worry and food insecurity in all 3 age groups. Conclusions: Younger cancer survivors experience greater financial worry and food insecurity. In addition to coping with medical costs, cancer survivors with low income and multiple comorbidities struggle to pay for daily living needs, such as food, housing, and monthly bills.

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Matthew P. Banegas, K. Robin Yabroff, Maureen C. O'Keeffe-Rosetti, Debra P. Ritzwoller, Paul A. Fishman, Ramzi G. Salloum, Jennifer Elston Lafata and Mark C. Hornbrook

Background: The high economic burden of cancer is projected to continue growing. Cost-of-care estimates are key inputs for comparative effectiveness and economic analyses that aim to inform policies associated with cancer care. Existing estimates are based largely on SEER-Medicare data in the elderly, leaving a knowledge gap regarding costs for patients aged <65 years. Methods: We estimated total and net medical care costs using data on individuals diagnosed with breast, colorectal, lung, or prostate cancer (n=45,522) and noncancer controls (n=314,887) enrolled in 1 of 4 participating health plans. Net costs were defined as the difference in mean total costs between patients with cancer and controls. The phase-of-care approach and Kaplan-Meier Sample Average method were used to estimate mean total and net 1- and 5-year costs (in 2015 US dollars) by cancer site, stage at diagnosis, and age group (<65 and ≥65 years). Results: Total and net costs were consistently highest for lung cancer and lowest for prostate cancer. Net costs were higher across all cancer sites for patients aged <65 years than those aged ≥65 years. Medical care costs for all cancers increased with advanced stage at diagnosis. Conclusions: This study improves understanding of medical care costs for the 4 most common invasive cancers in the United States. Higher costs among patients aged <65 years highlight limitations of relying on SEER-Medicare data alone to understand the national burden of cancer, whereas higher costs for patients with advanced-stage cancer underscore the importance of early detection to curtail high long-term costs. These cost estimates can be used in the development and evaluation of interventions and policies across the cancer care continuum.