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SEER Data Under-Ascertaining Cancer Radiotherapy Rates

Radiotherapy under-ascertainment linked to stage, income, mastectomy, and chemotherapy receipt

MONDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registry show disparities in documenting rates of radiotherapy receipt by breast cancer patients or for investigation of geographic variation in the radiation treatment, according to a study published online June 29 in Cancer.

Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the rates and correlates of under-ascertainment of radiotherapy in patients with nonmetastatic breast cancer. Survey data on treatment and sociodemographic factors were collected from 2,290 patients (aged 20 to 79 years), diagnosed between 2005 and 2007 in Los Angeles and Detroit, and registered with SEER, and the results were merged with SEER data. Radiotherapy receipt, as reported by the patients, was compared with SEER records, followed by assessment of correlates of radiotherapy under-ascertainment in SEER.

The investigators found that, of the 1,292 patients receiving radiotherapy, 273 were coded in the SEER records as not receiving radiotherapy. Los Angeles had a significantly higher rate of under-ascertainment than Detroit (32.0 versus 11.25 percent). Based on multivariate analysis, both registries had a significant association between radiotherapy under-ascertainment and stage, income, mastectomy receipt, chemotherapy receipt, and diagnosis at a hospital that was not accredited by the American College of Surgeons. Additional significant variables seen in Los Angeles included nonprivate insurance, younger age, and delayed receipt of radiotherapy.

"SEER registry data as currently collected may not be an appropriate source for documentation of rates of radiotherapy receipt or investigation of geographic variation in the radiation treatment of breast cancer," the authors write.

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