(UPI) — A new study shows that different treatments for early-stage breast cancer have very different values regarding cost and overall effectiveness.
Researchers identified 105,211 women with early-stage breast cancer diagnosed between 2000 and 2011 and studied treatment complications within 24 months of diagnosis comparing the types of treatments and complications.
The treatment options for early-stage breast cancer are lumpectomy, lumpectomy plus whole breast irradiation therapy, lumpectomy plus brachytherapy, mastectomy, and mastectomy plus reconstruction.
More and more women are electing to undergo bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction to treat early-stage breast cancer due to patient preference, fear of recurrence and anxiety of ongoing mammographic monitoring of conserved breast tissue.
The study showed lumpectomy plus whole breast irradiation was the most commonly used treatment and had a 29.6 percent complication risk compared to mastectomy plus reconstruction, which had a 54.3 percent complication risk in younger women. Lumpectomy plus whole breast irradiation in older women had a 37.6 percent increase complication risk compared to mastectomy plus reconstruction with a 66.1 percent complication risk.
Mastectomy plus reconstruction was also associated with a higher adjusted total cost, on average $22,481 more for younger women and $1,748 more for older women with Medicare with complication-related costs being higher as well.
Brachytherapy had higher total cost and complications compared to whole breast irradiation treatment. Lumpectomy alone had lower cost and complication risk among the Medicare cohort.
“We believe that this research is helpful to frame the conversation between a woman and her physicians regarding the trade-offs between lumpectomy with whole breast irradiation and mastectomy with reconstruction,” Benjamin Smith, an associate professor in the department of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said in a press release. “While mastectomy with reconstruction is sometimes the best treatment for an individual patient, it is important for patients to understand the potential for complications, some of which can be quite significant.”