Treatment variation by insurance status for breast cancer patients
ABSTRACT Few studies have examined the relationship of insurance status with the presentation and treatment of breast cancer. Using a state cancer registry, we compared tumor presentation and surgical treatments at presentation by insurance status (private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or uninsured). Student's t-test, Chi-square test, and ANOVA were used for comparison. P-values reflect a comparison to insured patients. From 1996 to 2005, there were 6876 cases of invasive breast cancer with either private (n = 3975), Medicare (n = 2592), Medicaid (n = 193), or no insurance (n = 116). The median age (years) at presentation was 55 for private, 76 for Medicare, 54 for Medicaid and 54 for uninsured. The mean and median tumor size (mm) were 18.5 and 15 for private; 20.9 and 15 for Medicare; 24.2 and 18 for Medicaid; and 29.5 and 17 for uninsured, respectively; (p < 0.001 for all). Fewer women with Medicare and Medicaid presented with node negative breast cancers: private, 73.4% node negative; Medicare, 79.5% (p < 0.001); Medicaid, 60.9% (p < 0.001); and uninsured, 58% (p = 0.005). Significantly more uninsured women had no surgical treatment of their breast cancer: 15.5% versus 4.3% for private (p < 0.001). Among women with non-metastatic T1/T2 tumors, 71.5% with private insurance underwent breast-conserving surgery (BCS), compared with 64.2% of Medicare (p < 0.001), 65% of Medicaid (p = 0.097), and 65.4% of uninsured (p = 0.234). The rate of reconstruction following mastectomy was higher for private insurance (36.6%), compared with Medicare (3.8%, p < 0.0001), Medicaid (26.1%, p = 0.31), and uninsured (5.0%, p = 0.0038). The presentation of breast cancer in women with no insurance and Medicaid is significantly worse than those with private insurance. Of concern are the lower proportions of BCS and reconstruction among patients who are uninsured or have Medicaid. Reduction of disparities in breast cancer presentation and treatment may be possible by increasing enrollment of uninsured, program-eligible women in a state-supported screening and treatment program.
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ABSTRACT: This historical study estimated the protective effects of a universally accessible, single-payer health care system versus a multipayer system that leaves many uninsured or underinsured by comparing breast cancer care of women living in high-poverty neighborhoods in Ontario and California between 1996 and 2011. Women in Canada experienced better care, particularly as compared with women who were inadequately insured in the United States. Women in Canada were diagnosed earlier (rate ratio [RR] = 1.12) and enjoyed better access to breast conserving surgery (RR = 1.48), radiation (RR = 1.60), and hormone therapies (RR = 1.78). Women living in high-poverty Canadian neighborhoods even experienced shorter waits for surgery (RR = 0.58) and radiation therapy (RR = 0.44) than did such women in the United States. Consequently, women in Canada were much more likely to survive longer. Regression analyses indicated that health insurance could explain most of the better care and better outcomes in Canada. Over this study’s 15-year time frame 31,500 late diagnoses, 94,500 suboptimum treatment plans, and 103,500 early deaths were estimated in high-poverty U.S. neighborhoods due to relatively inadequate health insurance coverage. Implications for social work practice, including advocacy for future reforms of U.S. health care, are discussed.Social work research 05/2015; 39(2). DOI:10.1093/swr/svv006 · 0.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study examined the differential effect of extreme impoverishment on breast cancer care in urban Canada and the United States. Ontario and California registry-based samples diagnosed between 1998 and 2000 were followed until 2006. Extremely poor and affluent neighborhoods were compared. Poverty was associated with non-localized disease, surgical and radiation therapy (RT) waits, non-receipt of breast conserving surgery, RT and hormonal therapy, and shorter survival in California, but not in Ontario. Extremely poor Ontario women were consistently advantaged on care indices over their California counterparts. More inclusive health insurance coverage in Canada seems the most plausible explanation for such Canadian breast cancer care advantages.Health & Place 09/2009; 16(1):156-63. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2009.09.011 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The demand for cancer care has increased among aging North American populations as cancer treatment innovations have proliferated. Gaps between supply and demand may be growing. This study examined whether socioeconomic status has a differential effect on waits for surgical and adjuvant radiation treatment (RT) of breast cancer in Canada and the US. Ontario and California cancer registries provided 929 and 984 breast cancer cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2000 in diverse urban and rural places. Residence-based socioeconomic data were taken from censuses. Cancer care variables were reliably abstracted from health records: stage, receipt of surgery and RT, and waits from diagnosis to initial and initial to adjuvant treatment. Median waits were compared within- and between-country with the non-parametric Mann-Whitney U-test. Categorically long, age-adjusted wait comparisons used the Mantel-Haenszel chi-square test. There were significant associations between lower socioeconomic status and longer surgical waits, lower access to adjuvant RT and to longer RT waits across diverse places in California. None were observed in Ontario. The two cohorts did not practically differ on access to surgery or on surgical waits. Compared with their counterparts in California, low-income Ontarians, particularly those in small urban places, gained greater access to RT, while high-income Americans had shorter waits for RT. This historical study contextualized Canada's "waiting-list problems" with evidence on breast cancer care, where lower income Americans seemed to have waited as long as similar Canadians. Many more low-income Americans seemed to experience the longest wait of all for adjuvant care. They simply did not receive it. In contrast to stark American socioeconomic inequity, this study evidenced remarkable equity in Canadian breast cancer care.Clinical and investigative medicine. Medecine clinique et experimentale 02/2009; 32(3):E239-49. · 1.15 Impact Factor