Cancer Center members are authors on a JAMA Network Open study that suggests health insurance is a modifiable risk factor that plays an important role in the racial and ethnic inequities observed in the diagnosis of advanced-stage cervical cancer.
The study published March 10 includes Cancer Center member authors Hunter Holt, MD, MAS, a UI Health family physician; Shannon MacLaughlan David, MD, MS, a UI Health gynecologic oncologist; and Caryn Peterson, PhD, MS, a research assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health.
Cervical Cancer and Health Insurance
The population-based study of nearly 24,000 women ages 21 to 64 and diagnosed with cervical cancer between 2007 and 2016 used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program. Health insurance status was private insurance or Medicare coverage compared with Medicaid coverage or being uninsured.
A larger proportion of women with private insurance or Medicare compared with women with Medicaid or who were uninsured received a diagnosis of an early-stage cancer, according to the study.
“Our study found that insurance status mediated more than half of the advanced-stage cervical cancers diagnosed among women from racial and ethnic minority groups. Although our findings suggest that a large proportion of the cancer inequities was associated with insurance status, we also acknowledge that equity in insurance coverage will not eliminate cervical cancer unilaterally,” the authors concluded.
Other study authors are affiliated with the UIC Department of Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy, the University of California San Francisco, Flatiron Health in New York and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.