No Health Insurance Dims Cancer Fate
Cancer Outcomes Worse for People With No Health Insurance or Inadequate Health Insurance
Dec. 20, 2007 -- Cancer patients without
adequate health insurance tend to face grimmer odds than those with good health
insurance, says the American Cancer Society.
The American Cancer Society today released a new report on health insurance
The report shows that people with no health insurance or inadequate health
insurance face four main challenges when it comes to cancer:
- They're less likely to get screened for cancer.
- They're less likely to get counseled about cancer prevention.
- They're more likely to get diagnosed late, when their cancer is harder to
- They're more likely to die from cancer than people with adequate health
Take breast cancer, for instance.
The report shows that women with private health insurance are more likely to
get mammograms, get diagnosed earlier, and have better survival rates than
The same is true for colorectal cancer. The report shows that among adults
aged 50-65, about half of those with private health insurance had gotten
screened for colorectal cancer in the past decade, compared with almost 40% of
those with Medicaid insurance and about 19% of uninsured people.
Noting that some new cancer treatments cost more than $100,000 per year, the
American Cancer Society's report asks, "To what extent will availability
and type of insurance coverage, as well as individual financial resources,
determine who has access to the most effective therapies?"
Health insurance isn't the only gap in cancer care. Racial and ethnic
disparities also affect cancer outcomes.
The American Cancer Society based its report on information from the CDC and
from the National Cancer Data Base.
The findings appear in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.