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Insurance, Race and Poverty Affect Cancer Care, Researchers Report
Date:10/4/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who don't have private health insurance or are poor or black fare worse than others if they get cancer, three new studies find.

The reports, documenting financial and racial factors that impact diagnosis, treatment and survival, were scheduled for presentation this weekend at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Miami.

Lack of private health insurance made a marked difference in survival outcomes of women with uterine cancer, researchers from the American Cancer Society and the University of California, Irvine found.

"Uninsured and Medicaid and Medicare patients with uterine cancer are more likely to die within four years than privately insured patients," said lead researcher Stacey A. Fedewa, an epidemiologist at the cancer society.

A retrospective analysis on 178,891 patients in the National Cancer Database showed that privately insured women had an unadjusted four-year survival rate of almost 89 percent, compared to the uninsured, approximately 81 percent; those on Medicaid, almost 76 percent; younger women insured through Medicare, 79 percent; and older women on Medicare, 69 percent.

The researchers also found that black women with uterine cancer had the lowest overall four-year survival rate, 63 percent, compared to whites and Hispanics, both 82 percent.

Some of the difference was due to access to care, Fedewa said. Yet even taking treatment, insurance and other factors into account, black women still had a 32 percent greater risk of dying than white women.

Fedewa said she thinks that other health factors, such as obesity and diabetes and cultural beliefs and quality of care, affect survival too.

In a second study, researchers led by Dr. Chyke Doubeni, an assistant professor of family medicine and community health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, foun
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