Medicaid enrollment at late stages may partly explain poor outcomes for cancer

March 14, 2005

A new study concludes that the unavailability of health insurance prior to Medicaid enrollment may contribute to poor outcomes in the Medicaid-insured cancer population. The study, published in the April 15, 2005 issue of CANCER (, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, says the poorest outcomes are among cancer patients who enroll in Medicaid after diagnosis. These individuals were likely uninsured prior to diagnosis and as such had been on the margins of the health care system for some time. Medicaid requires that individuals have both a disabling condition and low income and assets. Therefore, many of those enrolling in Medicaid after diagnosis have late stage cancers. The authors say their findings have far reaching implications for Medicaid's enrollment policies.

Recent studies demonstrate that access to healthcare alone does not improve survival rates for many cancers. A recent study showed, for instance, that Medicaid-supported breast cancer patients have similarly poor outcomes to uninsured patients. However, there is little research to explain the surprising lack of survival differences between Medicaid and uninsured patients. To further examine the contribution of Medicaid's policies in cancer outcome, Cathy Bradley, Ph.D. of Michigan State University and her colleagues reviewed the records of 13,740 subjects from the Michigan Tumor Registry.

According to analysis of the data, patients enrolled in Medicaid after diagnosis ("late enrolled") had a significantly poorer survival rate compared to patients diagnosed while enrolled in Medicaid and non-Medicaid patients. The median survival was 18 months for those diagnosed before enrollment compared to 38 months for those diagnosed after enrollment. Only 27 percent of these late enrollers had early stage cancers compared to 54 percent and 40 percent in the non-Medicaid insured and the patients already enrolled in Medicaid, respectively.

Dr. Bradley and her colleagues conclude, "From a policy perspective, cancer survival in the Medicaid population cannot be improved as long as 40 percent of the population enrolls in Medicaid after diagnosis with late stage disease. Care provided to these individuals may be futile."
Article: "Cancer, Medicaid Enrollment, and Survival Disparities," Cathy J. Bradley, Joseph Gardiner, Charles W. Given, Caralee Roberts, CANCER; Published Online: March 14, 2005 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.20954); Print Issue Date: April 15, 2005.


Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to