Lack of insurance coverage is a major cause of delayed breast cancer screening and treatment among minority women, which could lead to a decrease in a patient’s chance of survival, according to a new study.
Nearly half of the disparity in later-stage diagnosis between white (non-Hispanic) women and black, Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander women was related to being uninsured or underinsured, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine found. White (non-Hispanic) women were insured at a higher rate at the time of diagnosis compared with black (non-Hispanic) women, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic women.
“Diagnosing cancer at a later stage and lack of health insurance have negative consequences for patients and their families,” said Gregory Calip, one of the researchers. Insurance is a modifiable risk factor, and “having adequate health insurance for all could reduce the persistent racial outcome disparities in breast cancer,” Naomi Ko, another researcher, added.
- See “Lack of insurance cause of survivorship gap in minorities with cancer, study shows” on the University of Illinois at Chicago website (2020)
- See the study abstract “Association of Insurance Status and Racial Disparities With the Detection of Early-Stage Breast Cancer” JAMA Oncol. Published online January 9, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.5672