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19 January, 2020 00:00 00 AM
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How lack of insurance affects breast cancer survival

How lack of insurance 
affects breast cancer 
survival

Minority women with breast cancer are less likely to have insurance, which could lower their odds of survival, researchers say. "Having adequate health insurance for all could reduce the persistent racial outcome disparities in breast cancer," said study lead author Dr. Naomi Ko, assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.

She added that early diagnosis is not only beneficial for individuals, but also for society as a whole to "decrease medical costs and promote equity among all populations."

The researchers analyzed data from more than 177,000 US women, ages 40 to 64, who were diagnosed with invasive stage 1 to stage 3 breast cancer between 2010 and 2016.

The study found that whites were more likely to have insurance when they were diagnosed than blacks, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics.

Lack of insurance is a major cause of delayed breast cancer screening and treatment among women in minority groups, researchers noted. Being uninsured or underinsured accounted for nearly half of the gap in later-stage diagnosis between white and minority women.

"Patients diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage typically require more intensive treatment and are at a higher risk for treatment-related morbidity and poorer overall quality of life, especially compared to those who receive chemotherapy," Ko said.

Study co-leader Gregory Calip, assistant professor of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, pointed to negative consequences of lack of health insurance and delayed cancer diagnosis for patients and their families.

"Studies have examined the association of premature cancer-related mortality with lost productivity, and one estimated that in 2020 it will be just over $147 billion. The figure exceeded $308 billion when lost productivity of caregivers was considered," Calip said in a University of Illinois news release.

A 29% drop in US cancer deaths between 1991 and 2017 was driven by declines in deaths from four major cancers -- lung, colon, breast and prostate, according to the latest American Cancer Society (ACS) annual report. Cancer deaths in the United States fell 2.2% between 2016 and 2017, the largest-ever single-year decrease.

That record drop was spurred by a rapid decline in lung cancer deaths -- from 2% a year to 4% overall, the report said. In contrast, declines in colon, breast and prostate cancer death rates slowed, according to the report published online Jan. 8 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

"The news this year is mixed," said report lead author Rebecca Siegel, scientific director of surveillance research at the ACS. This year, the report projects 1.8 million new cancer cases and 606,520 cancer deaths in the United States.

Between 2008 and 2017, overall cancer death rates fell an average 1.5% a year, continuing a trend dating to the early 1990s. The 29% decrease between 1991 and 2017 represents about 2.9 million fewer cancer deaths than would have occurred if rates had remained at their peak.

"The exciting gains in reducing mortality for melanoma and lung cancer are tempered by slowing progress for colorectal, breast and prostate cancers, which are amenable to early detection," Siegel said in a society news release.

Lung cancer death rates have dropped 51% among men since 1990, and 26% among women since 2002, with the fastest progress in recent years.

HealthDay

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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