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Uninsured More Likely to Die From Cancer Following Diagnosis
Date:12/20/2007

nsurance to be diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer and less likely to be diagnosed with stage I colorectal cancer, the researchers found.

For whites, 66 percent of insured patients survive colorectal cancer for five years, compared with 50 percent of those without insurance. For blacks, five-year survival rates are 41 percent among the uninsured compared with 60 percent among privately insured patients.

Additional findings in the study include:

  • Uninsured women were less likely to have a Pap test in the past three years than insured women (68 percent vs. 87.9 percent).
  • Among insured men, 37.1 percent had a prostate specific antigen test, compared with 14 percent of uninsured men.
  • People aged 18 to 24 have the highest probability of being uninsured.
  • Lower-income people are more likely to be uninsured.
  • Blacks, Hispanics, Asian American/Pacific Islanders, and American Indian/Alaska Natives are more likely to be uninsured than whites.
  • Of those without insurance, 53.6 percent have no usual source of health care.
  • The uninsured are more likely to delay care, not receive care, and not obtain prescription drugs because of costs.
  • Among people who saw a health-care provider, those without insurance were less likely to be advised to quit smoking or lose weight.

Brawley noted that while some of the uninsured qualify for Medicaid, coverage doesn't begin until the cancer has been diagnosed.

"You have someone who is uninsured and poor -- gets none of the screenings, gets none of the early detection opportunities -- when they finally go to the doctor, it's because they are so sick, they can no longer go to work, or their family is forcing them to go to the emergency room," Brawley said. "What you have is someone who a year ago we could, relatively cheaply, fix, maybe even cure, but now that they have ignored their symptoms, it's n
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