INTRODUCTION: This study estimated the percentage of breast cancer cases, total number of incident cases, and total annual medical care costs attributable to alcohol consumption among insured younger women (aged 18-44 years) by type of insurance and stage at diagnosis.
METHODS: The study used the 2012-2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, cancer incidence data from two national registry programs, and published relative risk measures to estimate the: (1) alcohol-attributable fraction of breast cancer cases among younger women by insurance type; (2) total number of breast cancer incident cases attributable to alcohol consumption by stage at diagnosis and insurance type among younger women; and (3) total annual medical care costs of treating breast cancer incident cases attributable to alcohol consumption among younger women. Analyses were conducted in 2016; costs were expressed in 2014 U.S. dollars.
RESULTS: Among younger women enrolled in Medicaid, private insurance, and both groups, 8.7% (95% CI=7.4%, 10.0%), 13.8% (95% CI=13.3%, 14.4%), and 12.3% (95% CI=11.4%, 13.1%) of all breast cancer cases, respectively, were attributable to alcohol consumption. Localized stage was the largest proportion of estimated attributable incident cases. The estimated total number of breast cancer incident alcohol-attributable cases was 1,636 (95% CI=1,570, 1,703) and accounted for estimated total annual medical care costs of $148.4 million (95% CI=$140.6 million, $156.1 million).
CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol-attributable breast cancer has estimated medical care costs of nearly $150 million per year. The current findings could be used to support evidence-based interventions to reduce alcohol consumption in younger women.