Disparities in the Initial Local Treatment of Older Women with Early-Stage Breast Cancer: A Population-Based Study

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Background: Although breast cancer is most prevalent among older women, the majority are diagnosed at an early stage. When diagnosed at an early stage, women have the option of breast-conserving surgery (BCS) plus radiation therapy (RT) or mastectomy for the treatment of early-stage breast cancer (ESBC). Omission of RT when receiving BCS increases the risk for recurrence and poor survival. Yet, a small subset of older women may omit RT after BCS. This study examines the current patterns of local treatment for ESBC among older women. Methods: This study conducted a retrospective observational analysis using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked dataset of women age ‡66 diagnosed with stage I-II breast cancer in 2003–2009. SEER-Medicare data was additionally linked with data from the Area Resource File (ARF) to examine the association between area-level healthcare resources and treatment. Two logistic regression models were used to estimate how study factors were associated with receiving (1) BCS versus BCS+RT and (2) Mastectomy versus BCS+RT. A stratified analysis was also conducted among women aged