Use of medicare data to identify incident breast cancer cases

Joan L. Warren, Gerald F. Riley, A. Marshall McBean, Rosemarie Hakim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) provide reliable information about cancer incidence. However, because SEER data are geographically limited and have a 2-year time lag, we evaluated whether Medicare data could provide timely information on cancer incidence. Comparing Medicare women hospitalized for breast cancer with women reported to SEER, Medicare data had high specificity (96.6 percent), yet low sensitivity (59.4 percent). We conclude that Medicare hospitalization data can identify incident cases for cancers that usually require inpatient hospitalization. For cancers that often only receive outpatient treatment, such as breast cancer, additional Medicare data, such as physician bills, are needed to understand the entirety of treatment practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-246
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Care Financing Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996


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