Study finds state regulations linked to late cancer diagnoses

July 20, 2015

States' regulations of health insurance and practitioners significantly influence when patients receive colorectal or breast cancer diagnoses, especially among people younger than the Medicare-eligible age of 65, according to a new study by researchers at Georgia State University's School of Public Health and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The study suggests that where people live is a strong predictor of whether they will receive potentially life-saving screenings.

Dr. Lee Rivers Mobley, associate professor of spatial science and health economics at Georgia State's School of Public Health, was the principal author of "United States Health Policies and Late-Stage Breast and Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis: Why Such Disparities by Age?" recently published in Health Economics Review.

"Progress has been made in the war against cancer, yet the high proportions of late-stage diagnoses remain a concern," the researchers noted in their study.

Late-stage diagnoses range from 54 to 60 percent of newly diagnosed cases across the states, while late-stage diagnoses range from 24 to 36 percent, the study found.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and the risk of developing it rises after age 40. Despite overall declining rates of colorectal cancer—largely because of endoscopic screenings and polyp removal—rates have been increasing steadily since 1998 among those younger than 50 "for whom screening is not routinely recommended," the authors said. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women and its rates have remained steady since about 2003.

The researchers concluded that a state's regulatory climate is "an important predictor" of late-stage colorectal and breast cancer diagnoses.

The study examined individual states' regulatory policies and analyzed cancer cases in 40 states from the United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) database reported between 2004 and 2009 to determine whether area cancer screening use or accessibility to health care providers affected odds of late-stage diagnosis. The study excluded 10 states, including Illinois and Ohio, because of incomplete or incompatible data sets.

Mobley and the study's co-author, Dr. Tzy-Mey Kuo, a researcher at North Carolina's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, are the first team to use the newly available USCS database, which is housed in the National Center for Health Statistics Research Data Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The researchers also noted they designed the study to end in 2009 so that future research may evaluate the effects of recent insurance regulations, notably the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Explore further: Screening has prevented half a million colorectal cancers

Related Stories

Screening has prevented half a million colorectal cancers

June 3, 2014
An estimated half a million cancers were prevented by colorectal cancer screening in the United States from 1976 to 2009, report researchers from the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center ...

Health insurance coverage among cancer patients varies greatly by demographics and cancer type

April 27, 2015
A new analysis has found that, among patients with cancer, rates of health insurance coverage vary by patient demographics and by cancer type. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer ...

Reaching '80 percent by 2018' would prevent more than 20,000 colorectal cancer deaths per year

March 12, 2015
Increasing colorectal cancer screening rates to 80% by 2018 would prevent an additional 21,000 colorectal cancer deaths per year by 2030, according to a new study. The study is the first to estimate the public health benefits ...

Colon cancer deaths falling, but three US regions lag behind

July 8, 2015
(HealthDay)— There's reason to celebrate declines in deaths from colon cancer in the United States—unless you live in three areas that are still lagging behind, a new report finds.

Aging demographic to push up Canada cancer rate 40%

May 27, 2015
Canada must boost its capacity to treat cancers as new cases among its aging and growing population are set to soar, the Canadian Cancer Society said Wednesday.

Women with diabetes more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer

March 24, 2015
Diabetes is associated with more advanced stage breast cancer, according to a new study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Women's College Hospital.

Recommended for you

No dye: Cancer patients' gray hair darkened on immune drugs

July 21, 2017
Cancer patients' gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads.

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.