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Keywords:

  • colorectal carcinoma;
  • care prevalence;
  • initial diagnosis;
  • monitoring;
  • recurrent/metastatic disease;
  • terminal care

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Prevalence usually is defined as the proportion of individuals alive who previously had a diagnosis of the disease, regardless of whether the individuals still are receiving treatment or are cured. The objective of this study was to estimate the proportion of elderly patients with colorectal carcinoma (CRC) in the U.S. that actually were receiving care for their disease as a better quantification of the burden of CRC.

METHODS

The authors used data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program linked to Medicare claims. Four phases of CRC care were defined: initial diagnosis and treatment, postdiagnostic monitoring, treatment for recurrent/metastatic disease, and terminal care. CRC care prevalence measures by phase were extrapolated to the U.S. population age 65 years and older.

RESULTS

For all patients with CRC who were diagnosed between 1975 and 1996, 62% received at least 1 service related to their CRC in 1996, and patients received an average of 2.1 months per person of CRC care. Among the U.S. population age 65 years and older, 1.81% had 1 diagnosis of CRC, and (1.81% × 0.62%) = 1.12% received at least 1 service related to their CRC. This translated to 380,783 individuals who received care and 1,210,121 person months of care during 1996.

CONCLUSIONS

To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report in which care prevalence has been estimated directly. The classification of CRC care by phases of care provides a very detailed picture of the amount of care delivered in the U.S. population. Person-month estimates can be used to estimate the cost of CRC. Cancer 2003;98:1253–61. Published 2003 by the American Cancer Society.

DOI 10.1002/cncr.11631