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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Uninsured Breast Cancer Patients More Likely to Die

Uninsured women with breast cancer were more than twice as likely to have a late stage diagnosis than cancer patients who were insured, according to research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Uninsured patients were 60 percent more likely to die from the disease, the study found.

[Photo: Dr. Kimberly J. Johnson]

Researchers analyzed cancer-registry data from more than 50,000 women age 18-64 who were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007-8. 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.

“Access to screening services may play a role in the association between insurance status and breast cancer stage at diagnosis and survival,” wrote authors Dr. Kimberly J. Johnson, associate professor, and Christine D. Hsu, of the Brown School. “Improving access to primary care and mammography screenings in these populations may improve breast cancer outcomes.”

The study was published online April 25 in Cancer.

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