Health insurance is key to detecting cancer before it’s too late, even among young people.
That’s the conclusion of a new American Cancer Society study that found uninsured young adults are up to twice as likely to get late-stage cancer diagnoses than their peers with private insurance.
The ACS sampled roughly 260,000 Americans ages 15 to 39 who were diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2010.
Among the sample, women without insurance were nearly twice as likely as those with private insurance to get late-stage diagnoses, while uninsured men were 1.5 times as likely to receive late-stage cancer diagnoses as their privately insured peers. Patients who receive late-stage cancer diagnosis — ones in which the cancer is detected only after it has spread to multiple parts of the body — are less likely to survive than those who are diagnosed earlier.
Public-policy initiatives to expand access to and reduce the cost of health insurance — such as the Affordable Care Act — could save lives as cancer is identified and treated earlier for newly insured patients, ACS researchers argue.
“The Affordable Care Act, with its focus on increasing private insurance coverage of young adults and providing certain cancer screenings at no cost to patients, has the potential to make a big impact on this age group,” ACS Director of Health Services Research Anthony Robbins said in a press release. Robbins is the lead author of the study.
Uninsured patients were younger, more likely to be male, more likely to be black or Hispanic, and more likely to reside in the South, according to the study. The researchers also found that minorities were more likely to have advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis.
While having private insurance increased the likelihood that cancer would be caught early, Medicare and Medicaid patients were found to have about the same results as uninsured patients, troubling statistics for policymakers as they look to expand access to the programs across the country. More research must be done to confirm those findings, the ACS said, as some patients become newly and retroactively eligible for those programs because of a cancer diagnosis.
The findings are consistent with prior ACS research on the link between insurance status and cancer diagnoses, which has found that patients without insurance have a higher likelihood of advanced cancer diagnosis among the whole adult population and higher likelihood of advanced breast cancer among women.
- 1 Big Decisions Loom for Durbin, Murray, Leahy
- 2 Great Democratic Hopes Energize Quiet Faithful in Missouri
- 3 Will Congress Try to Rein in Obamacare Premiums?
- 4 The Late-Breaking Democratic House Targets
- 5 Smart Ideas: Ken Bone Revealed a Serious Policy Divide, and Elizabeth Warren Seeks a Co-Presidency
What We're Following See More »
Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."
President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that "there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices—appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election." Speaking to reporters in Colorado, Cruz said: "I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”