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Open Access Research article

Identifying incident oral and pharyngeal cancer cases using Medicare claims

Jonathan D Mahnken1*, John D Keighley1, Douglas A Girod2, Xueyi Chen3 and Matthew S Mayo1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biostatistics, The University of Kansas Medical Center, The University of Kansas Cancer Center, MSN 1026, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, Kansas City, KS, 66160, USA

2 Department of Otolaryngology, The University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA

3 Department of Biostatistics, The University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA

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BMC Oral Health 2013, 13:1  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-13-1

Published: 1 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Baseline and trend data for oral and pharyngeal cancer incidence is limited. A new algorithm was derived using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database to create an algorithm to identify incident cases of oral and pharyngeal cancer using Medicare claims.

Methods

Using a split-sample approach, Medicare claims’ procedure and diagnosis codes were used to generate a new algorithm to identify oral and pharyngeal cancer cases and validate its operating characteristics.

Results

The algorithm had high sensitivity (95%) and specificity (97%), which varied little by age group, sex, and race and ethnicity.

Conclusion

Examples of the utility of this algorithm and its operating characteristics include using it to derive baseline and trend estimates of oral and pharyngeal cancer incidence. Such measures could be used to provide incidence estimates where they are lacking or to serve as comparator estimates for tumor registries.

Keywords:
Medicare; Oral cancer; Secondary data analysis; SEER