-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated 20 percent of
breast cancer patients in the United States who receive radiation
after they undergo breast-conserving surgery may not have their
radiation treatments recorded in a federal database, a new study
The Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry is
maintained by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and is used by
researchers to examine patterns of cancer treatment, including
racial or regional disparities.
In this study, a University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer
Center team compared SEER data with treatment reports from breast
cancer patients in Detroit and Los Angeles. Of the 1,292 patients
in both cities who said they received radiation therapy, 273 (just
over 20 percent) were not coded that way in the SEER database.
When the researchers looked at the cities separately, they found
that radiation treatment was not correctly noted in the SEER
database for 11 percent of patients in Detroit and about one-third
of patients in Los Angeles.
The study was published online June 29 in the journal
Previous studies based on SEER data have suggested that a number
of patients aren't receiving recommended radiation therapy after
breast-conserving surgery, leading to efforts to increase radiation
treatment in this group of patients.
If SEER data is not accurate, researchers don't know if
resources to improve cancer care are being used appropriately,
noted lead study author Dr. Reshma Jagsi, an associate professor of
radiation oncology at the University of Michigan Medical
"With increased interest in comparative effectiveness research, more and more researchers are using registry databases like SEER. If the quality of the data in some of these databases has limitations, these must be understood to avoid potentially misleading conclusions that affect both clinical decision-making and policy," Jagsi said in a university news release.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
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