publication date: Oct. 11, 2019

Clinical Roundup

Following NCCN guidelines for metastatic breast cancer results in lower costs

Direct cost for metastatic breast cancer patients increases dramatically when their treatment differs from recommendations in the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.

Researchers from O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham published the study in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s October issue.

Previous studies have found that guideline discordant care results in higher health care costs overall, but this is the first study to look specifically at the cost burden for patients.

“It was important to explore potential differences in out-of-pocket costs, since financial toxicity is a growing issue among patients with metastatic breast cancer,” Courtney P. Williams, of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, said in a statement. “About one in five women received an anticancer treatment that wasn’t listed within the NCCN Guidelines. Those women were responsible for higher out-of-pocket costs—including deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments—in the year following their metastatic breast cancer diagnosis than those receiving an anticancer treatment listed within the guidelines.”

“This finding is especially important for older patients, which made up about 75% of our sample, since financial and psychological distress could be worse for patients living on a fixed income,” Williams said.

The retrospective study used the SEER-Medicare database to look at patient costs for 3,709 women diagnosed with MBC between 2007 and 2013 who survived at least a year after diagnosis. Treatment regimens were matched to the version of the NCCN Guidelines for breast cancer that were available at the exact treatment date. The definition of guideline-concordant care varied depending on date due to … Continue reading Following NCCN guidelines for metastatic breast cancer results in lower costs

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