Survival Disparities Based on Insurance

ATLANTA, June 15 (UPI) — Medicaid and uninsured rectal cancer patients are twice as likely to die within five years compared with privately insured patients, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Anthony S. Robbins of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta and colleagues analyzed the data of a national hospital-based cancer registry for insurance status and survival among 19,154 rectal cancer patients ages 18-64.


Patients diagnosed with rectal cancer from 1998 to 2002 were tracked through 2007.

Robbins and colleagues examined the impact of 10 factors on 5-year survival — age, sex, race/ethnicity, cancer grade, cancer subtype, neighborhood education and income levels, treatment facility type, cancer stage and treatment.

After adjusting for all the factors, rectal cancer patients insured through Medicaid had a 34 percent increased risk of dying within five years compared with privately insured patients, while uninsured patients had a 29 percent increased risk of dying within five years compared with privately insured patients.

Approximately 53 percent of the increased deaths were due to higher cancer stage and disparities in treatment, while 17 percent was due to other factors, the study says.

The findings are published online in the journal Cancer.

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