Estimating the need for radiotherapy for patients with prostate, breast, and lung cancers: Verification of model estimates of need with radiotherapy utilization data from British Columbia
PURPOSE: Estimates of the need for radiotherapy (RT) using different methods (criterion based benchmarking [CBB] and the Canadian [C-EBEST] and Australian [A-EBEST] epidemiologically based estimates) exist for various cancer sites. We compared these model estimates to actual RT rates for lung, breast, and prostate cancers in British Columbia (BC). METHODS AND MATERIALS: All cases of lung, breast, and prostate cancers in BC from 1997 to 2004 and all patients receiving RT within 1 year (RT(1Y)) and within 5 years (RT(5Y)) of diagnosis were identified. The RT(1Y) and RT(5Y) proportions in health regions with a cancer center for the most recent year were then calculated. RT rates were compared with CBB and EBEST estimates of RT needs. Variation was assessed by time and region. RESULTS: The RT(1Y) in regions with a cancer center for lung, breast, and prostate cancers were 51%, 58%, and 33% compared with 45%, 57%, and 32% for C-EBEST and 41%, 61%, and 37% for CBB models. The RT(5Y) rates in regions with a cancer center for lung, breast, and prostate cancers were 59%, 61%, and 40% compared with 61%, 66%, and 61% for C-EBEST and 75%, 83%, and 60% for A-EBEST models. The RT(1Y) rates increased for breast and prostate cancers. CONCLUSIONS: C-EBEST and CBB model estimates are closer to the actual RT rates than the A-EBEST estimates. Application of these model estimates by health care decision makers should be undertaken with an understanding of the methods used and the assumptions on which they were based.