Publication Abstract

Authors: Barlow WE, Taplin SH, Yoshida CK, Buist DS, Seger D, Brown M

Title: Cost comparison of mastectomy versus breast-conserving therapy for early-stage breast cancer.

Journal: J Natl Cancer Inst 93(6):447-55

Date: 2001 Mar 21

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Choice of treatment for early-stage breast cancer depends on many factors, including the size and stage of the cancer, the woman's age, comorbid conditions, and perhaps the costs of treatment. We compared the costs of all medical care for women with early-stage breast cancer cases treated by breast-conserving therapy (BCT) or mastectomy. METHODS: A total of 1675 women 35 years old or older with incident early-stage breast cancer were identified in a large regional nonprofit health maintenance organization in the period 1990 through 1997. The women were treated with mastectomy only (n = 183), mastectomy with adjuvant hormonal therapy or chemotherapy (n = 417), BCT with radiation therapy (n = 405), or BCT with radiation therapy and adjuvant hormonal therapy or chemotherapy (n = 670). The costs of all medical care for the period 1990 through 1998 were computed for each woman, and monthly costs were analyzed by treatment, adjusting for age and cancer stage. All statistical tests were two-sided. RESULTS: At 6 months after diagnosis, the mean total medical care costs for the four groups differed statistically significantly (P:<.001), with BCT being more expensive than mastectomy. The adjusted mean costs were $12 987, $14 309, $14 963, and $15 779 for mastectomy alone, mastectomy with adjuvant therapy, BCT plus radiation therapy, and BCT plus radiation therapy with adjuvant therapy, respectively. At 1 year, the difference in costs was still statistically significant (P:<.001), but costs were influenced more by the use of adjuvant therapy than by type of surgery. The 1-year adjusted mean costs were $16 704, $18 856, $17 344, and $19 081, respectively, for the four groups. By 5 years, BCT was less expensive than mastectomy (P:<.001), with 5-year adjusted mean costs of $41 930, $45 670, $35 787, and $39 926, respectively. Costs also varied by age, with women under 65 years having higher treatment costs than older women. CONCLUSIONS: BCT may have higher short-term costs but lower long-term costs than mastectomy.