Health Insurance And Screening Saves Lives – American Cancer Society Reports Death From Prostate Breast Colon Cancers Reduced

Health Insurance And Screening Saves Lives – American Cancer Society Reports Death From Prostate Breast Colon Cancers Reduced Among Insured

(Best Syndication) It may seem self evident, but a new study confirms that people without health insurance are less likely to receive screening and are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage for cancer. This leads to worse outcomes and a lower survival rate.

The American Cancer Society released the results of their study on Thursday. The society used data collected from the National Cancer Database which is compiled from hospitals and paid for by the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society.

In 2007 the ACS began a campaign to change the grim statistics. They launched a nationwide crusade to highlight the need for access to quality care for all Americans. Even as advances in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer have “resulted in an almost 14 percent drop in the death rates from all cancers combined from 1991 to 2004 in the U.S., with remarkable declines in mortality for the top three causes of cancer death in men (lung, colorectal, and prostate cancer) and two of the top three cancers in women, (breast and colorectal cancer), not all segments of the population have benefited equally from this progress.”

They found that for all cancers combined, patients who were uninsured were 1.6 times as likely to die in five years as those with private insurance. The difference in rates was more pronounced in cancers that can be screened like breast and colorectal cancer. Patients with insurance were more likely to opt for the screenings and were more likely to catch the disease in early stages.

Mammography and colonoscopies help save lives. The ACS reports that “Women without health insurance are about half as likely as those with private health insurance to have received a mammogram in the past two years (38.1 percent of uninsured women versus 74.5 percent of insured women age 40-64), a pattern seen for all race/ethnicities studied (white, African American and Hispanic) at all levels of education.”

Women without insurance were twice as likely to be diagnosed in late stages as women with insurance. Twenty to 30 percent of uninsured women were diagnosed with stage III or IV breast cancer. The rate for women with insurance was only 15 percent.

The statistics for uninsured patients with diagnosed stage IV colon cancer were just as pronounced. Patients without health insurance were more likely than those with private insurance to be diagnosed with Stage IV and less likely to be diagnosed with Stage I colorectal cancer.

Among whites, 50 percent of uninsured patients survived colorectal cancer for five years, compared to 66 percent who had private insurance. The disparity among African Americans was even greater.

People with insurance were more likely to get other tests as well. Women between 40 and 64 without insurance were less likely than women with private insurance to have had a Pap test in the past three years (68 percent versus 87.9 percent).

Men were more likely to get a test for prostate cancer. More than one in three privately insured men (37.1 percent) aged 50 to 64 years had received a prostate specific antigen test versus just one in seven (14 percent) uninsured men. See what others are saying and join the discussion at our Forum

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication News Health Writer

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