Study: Uninsured cancer patients die sooner

A new study suggests that uninsured patients with cancer die within five years almost twice as often as those with private insurance. According to one estimate by the Associated Press, roughly 4 percent of cancer patients dying in 2005 were uninsured. The study, done by researchers with the American Cancer Society, also concludes that people who are uninsured are less likely to get recommended screening tests, making it more likely that they'll have an advanced form of the disease when it's detected. This dovetails with earlier research suggesting that uninsured patients are diagnosed at a later stage in their illness.

To draw its conclusions, the research analyzed data from 1,500 U.S. hospitals providing cancer care, looking at the roughly 600,000 adults under age 65 who were diagnosed in 1999 or 2000 and had either no insurance, private insurance or Medicaid. When analyzing the numbers, researchers found that 35 percent of uninsured patients had died within five years, compared with 23 percent of privately insured patients.

To get more data from the study:
- read this Associated Press piece

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