Validation of self-reported incident cancer diagnoses in the U.S. Health and Retirement Study: A tool for population-based cancer and aging research.

TitleValidation of self-reported incident cancer diagnoses in the U.S. Health and Retirement Study: A tool for population-based cancer and aging research.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsMullins, M, Kler, JS, Eastman, M, Kabeto, MU, Wallner, LP, Kobayashi, LC
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Keywordsbiomarker data, cancer diagnoses, Medicare, self-report

Background: Population aging and improving cancer survival rates are resulting in a growing population of older cancer survivors in the United States (US). As a result, there is an increasing need for longitudinal, population-representative data for interdisciplinary cancer research among older adults. The US Health Retirement Study (HRS) is an ongoing population-representative cohort of US adults over age 50 that contains rich interview and biomarker data on health during aging. Interviews have collected self-reported cancer diagnoses since 1998, but these self-reports have not been validated. We compared first incident cancer diagnoses self-reported in HRS interviews against diagnostic claims from linked Medicare records. Methods: We examined the validity of first incident cancer diagnoses self-reported in biennial HRS interviews from 2000 through 2016 against ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnostic claim records among 8,242 HRS participants aged ≥65 with 90% continuous enrollment in fee-for-service Medicare, using the claim records as the gold standard. We calculated the sensitivity, specificity, and k for first incident cancer diagnoses (all cancers combined, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, and each of bladder, breast, colorectal/anal, uterine, kidney/renal, lung/bronchus, and prostate cancers) cumulatively over the follow-up, and at each biennial study interview. Results: Self-reports of first incident cancer diagnosis (agnostic of site) between 2000 and 2016 had 73.2% sensitivity and 96.2% specificity against Medicare claims (k = 0.73). For site-specific self-reports, sensitivities ranged from 44.7% (kidney) to 75.0% (breast), and specificities ranged from 99.2% (prostate) to 99.9% (bladder, uterine, and kidney). Results were similar in sensitivity analyses restricting to individuals with 100% continuous fee-for-service Medicare enrollment and when restricting to individuals with at least 24 months of Medicare enrollment. Conclusions: Self-reported cancer diagnoses in the HRS have reasonable validity for population-based research on cancer and aging across cancer types. Apart from breast cancer, cancer site specific analyses will greatly benefit from the improved validity of self-report with Medicare claim linkage.

Citation Keydoi:10.1200/JCO.2020.39.28_suppl.312