Breast Cancer Is More Deadly Without Insurance

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Research has found that uninsured patients were 60 percent more likely to die from breast cancer.

Uninsured women with breast cancer were nearly 2.6 times more likely to have a late-stage diagnosis than cancer patients who were insured, the study in the journal Cancer shows.

“Access to screening services may play a role in the association between insurance status and breast cancer stage at diagnosis and survival,” says lead author Kimberly Johnson, associate professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. “Improving access to primary care and mammography screenings in these populations may improve breast cancer outcomes.”

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Researchers analyzed cancer registry data from more than 50,000 women age 18-64 who were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and 2008. They found that patients with Medicaid were also more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage cancer and have worse survival rates than those with private insurance, although they had better diagnoses and outcomes than uninsured women.

In addition, report the researchers, lower proportions of uninsured, black, unmarried, and younger women survived five years following their breast cancer diagnosis.

(Credit: WUSTL)

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Original Study DOI: 10.1002/cncr.30722

Article by Neil Schoenherr-WUSTL