Background: Breast cancer in the U.S. - estimated at 232,670 incident cases in 2014 - has the highest aggregate economic burden of care relative to other female cancers. Yet, the amount of cost attributed to diagnostic/preoperative work up has not been characterized. We examined the costs of imaging and biopsy among women enrolled in Medicare who did and did not receive diagnostic/preoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Methods: Using Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)- Medicare data, we compared the per capita costs (PCC) based on amount paid, between diagnosis date and primary surgical treatment for a breast cancer diagnosis (2005-2009) with and without diagnostic/preoperative MRI. We compared the groups with and without MRI using multivariable models, adjusting for woman and tumor characteristics. Results: Of the 53,653 women in the cohort, within the diagnostic/preoperative window, 20 % (N = 10,776) received diagnostic/preoperative MRI. Total unadjusted median costs were almost double for women with MRI vs. without ($2,251 vs. $1,152). Adjusted costs were higher among women receiving MRI, with significant differences in total costs ($1,065), imaging costs ($928), and biopsies costs ($138). Conclusion: Costs of diagnostic/preoperative workups among women with MRI are higher than those without. Using these cost estimates in comparative effectiveness models should be considered when assessing the benefits and harms of diagnostic/preoperative MRI.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study used the linked SEER-Medicare database. The interpretation and reporting of these data are the sole responsibility of the authors. The authors acknowledge the efforts of the Applied Research Program, NCI; the Office of Research, Development and Information, CMS; Information Management Services (IMS), Inc.; and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program tumor registries in the creation of the SEER-Medicare database. This work was supported by funding from the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute under grant R01 CA149365-01.
© 2016 Onega et al.
- Beast cancer
- Breast MRI
- Cost of breast MRI
- Diagnostic/preoperative breast MRI