Late-Stage Diagnosis More Likely Among Uninsured

Monday, February 18th, 2008
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Uninsured or Medicaid-insured patients are far more likely to be diagnosed with an advanced stage cancer than those with private insurance, according to a new American Cancer Society study of 3.5 million cancer patients with 12 of the most common cancer types. Previous studies have shown that insurance status is an important factor in ensuring timely diagnosis and care, but they were comprised of smaller patient groups, conducted in specific regions of the country, or looked only at specific cancer types (for example, breast or oropharyngeal cancer). This is the first large-scale national study to definitively link a late-stage cancer diagnosis with insurance status across a broad range of cancer types.

  • Uninsured and Medicaid-insured patients showed a significantly increased risk of having an advanced-stage cancer compared with their privately insured counterparts.
  • Uninsured and Medicaid-insured patients were also more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage breast and colorectal cancer, two cancers that can be detected at an early stage by screening.

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