Outcomes and Costs for Women After Breast Cancer: Preparing for Improved Survivorship of Medicare Beneficiaries.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: Increasing health care costs, longer life expectancy, improved breast cancer (BC) survival, and higher levels of complex comorbidities have important implications for future Medicare expenditures. METHODS: Data from the SEER program linked to Medicare claims records were used. Women with BC (cases) were categorized into 3 groups on the basis of their year of diagnosis (1998, 2003, or 2008) and were propensity score matched to women without a BC diagnosis (controls). All stage and stage-specific longitudinal changes in survival, morbidity levels using the Elixhauser index, and Medicare expenditures in 2018 dollars were calculated and compared. RESULTS: More than 15% of BC cases were diagnosed in patients over the age of 85 years. The prevalence of most comorbidities increased over time. Costs among cases increased between 1998 and 2008. Spending directly correlated with the stage of disease at diagnosis, with the lowest per-patient costs in the ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) subgroup ($14,792 in 1998 and $19,652 in 2008) and the highest in those with distant cancer ($37,667 in 1998 and $43,675 in 2008). Assuming no significant changes in the distribution of BC stage or age at diagnosis, the total annual costs of caring for patients with BC in women 65 years of age or older at diagnosis increased by at least $1.1 billion between 1998 and 2008. CONCLUSION: Improvements in BC survivorship are associated with intensive use of health care resources and substantially higher downstream costs among Medicare beneficiaries. Appropriate planning, in both the fiscal and the oncology care infrastructure, is required to prepare the health system for these emerging health care trends.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Yashkin, AP; Greenup, RA; Gorbunova, G; Akushevich, I; Oeffinger, KC; Hwang, ES

Published Date

  • April 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 4

Start / End Page

  • e469 - e478

PubMed ID

  • 32692618

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8258099

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2688-1535

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1200/OP.20.00155


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States