- This study is focused on early stage breast cancer patients. Financial considerations are an issue most patients will need to navigate in some way.
- This study received a "Medium" relevance score because the results do not necessarily impact the medical decisions of women diagnosed with breast cancer today.
- The research presented in the studies covered in this XRAYS suggests that costs for radiation therapy to treat early-stage breast cancer in 2011 would have been significantly less if patients would have received the least expensive radiation regimen for which they were safely eligible. The authors noted that treatment decisions are complex and based on many factors that were not considered in this study.
Strength of Science: Medium
- This research study suggests that health care costs associated with radiation treatment for early-stage breast cancer could be reduced if patients received the least expensive radiation regimen for which they were safely eligible.
- However, this was a retrospective study, meaning the authors did not collect their own data.
- Ultimately, the biggest limitation of this study is the researchers do not know the reasons behind the choice of radiation treatment for each patient.
- Young breast cancer survivors should work with their healthcare providers to determine what the best treatment is for them.
- It is difficult to determine an individual’s out-of-pocket savings for those who are eligible for the shorter course of radiation therapy due to variation between providers/hospitals, health care plans, and other factors.
Research Timeline: Human Research
- While radiation treatments are approved the idea of treating with the least expensive method has not been sufficiently demonstrated to have similar outcomes. More research is needed beyond this preliminary study.