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Health insurance may cut by half racial disparities in advanced cervical cancer

Health insurance coverage may help mitigate racial inequities in advanced-stage cervical cancer diagnoses, according to a study of more than 23,000 women diagnosed with the cancer between 2007 and 2016. Women with private insurance or Medicare were more likely to be diagnosed with early-stage cervical cancer than those with Medicaid or without insurance (57.8 percent versus 41.1 percent).

A lower share of Black (41.7 percent), American Indian or Alaska Native (48.7 percent), Asian or Pacific Islander (49.9 percent), and Hispanic or Latina (51.6 percent) women received an early-stage diagnosis compared to White women (53.3 percent).

The researchers found that being uninsured or insured by Medicaid accounted for more than half the estimated inequity in advanced-stage cervical cancer diagnoses across racial and ethnic groups compared with White women.  The study suggests that if private insurance or Medicare coverage was expanded or Medicaid eased physicians’ administrative burden, fewer women from racial and ethnic minority groups would receive advanced-stage cancer diagnoses.

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