July 23, 2012 — Uninsured women with cervical cancer are more likely than privately insured women to be diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease, especially as they get older, according to a nationwide study published in the American Journal of Public Health, MedPage Today reports.
For the study, researchers from the American Cancer Society analyzed age and insurance data on 69,739 women listed in a national hospital-based registry who had been diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer between 2000 and 2007.
The results showed that the risk ratio for uninsured women for being diagnosed with stage three or four cervical cancer was 1.44, compared with privately insured women. Women insured through Medicaid also were more likely than privately insured women to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, with a risk ratio of 1.37 for Medicaid beneficiaries compared with privately insured women.
The researchers noted that age was the strongest predictor of a stages three or four diagnosis, with women who were at least 50 years old having 2.2 to 2.5 times higher risk than those ages 21 to 34, according to MedPage Today.
Overall, 47% of uninsured women ages 55 to 59 were diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer -- the highest rate of any group -- compared with 13% of privately insured women ages 18 to 34 -- the lowest rate.
"Screening should be made accessible and affordable for all women for whom it is recommended, especially for those at higher risk of advanced-stage disease, such as middle-age women, Medicaid recipients, and uninsured women," the researchers wrote (Walsh, MedPage Today, 7/19).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership