Du XL, Parikh RC, Lairson DR. Racial and geographic disparities in the patterns of care and costs at the end of life for patients with lung cancer in 2007–2010 after the 2006 introduction of bevacizumab. Lung Cancer. 2015 Dec;90(3):442-50.

OBJECTIVES: To examine racial/ethnic and geographical disparities in cancer care and costs during the last 6 months of life for lung cancer decedents after the Food and Drug Administration's approval of expensive bevacizumab in October 2006.

METHODS: We identified 37,393 cases from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registries and Medicare linked databases who were diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer of all stages in 1991-2009 and died between July 2007 and December 2010.

: Overall, the proportion of patients receiving chemotherapy/targeted therapy (31.0%), bevacizumab (4.6%), growth factors (16.0%), surgery (2.8%), and hospice care (60.9) in the last 6 months of life was higher in whites than in other ethnic populations. Hospitalization rate was higher in blacks (83.2%) than in whites (76.0%) and others (78.0%). Those from metro areas had slightly higher percentages of receiving chemotherapy/targeted therapy, bevacizumab, growth factors, and hospice care, but had a higher hospitalization rate and lower emergency care visit. Mean total health care cost was $42,749 for the last 6 months of life in patients with lung cancer. Adjusted mean health care cost in the last 6 months of life was significantly higher in blacks or other ethnic population as compared to whites.

CONCLUSION: There were substantial racial/ethnic and geographic disparities in the types of cancer care and costs in the last 6 months of life among lung cancer decedents, regardless of the length of survival times and hospice care status. A clinical guideline may help the appropriate use of costly treatment modalities and minimize racial/geographic disparities.

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