BOSTON — Men with testicular cancer who were uninsured or on Medicaid had a higher risk of death from what is normally a curable disease than insured patients, a new study found.
The findings, published in Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society (ACS), add to growing evidence that differences in health insurance status can affect cancer outcomes. The researchers analyzed outcomes and insurance status for 10,211 men diagnosed with testicular cancer between 2007 and 2011.
The risk of death from testicular cancer – also called testis cancer – was 88 percent higher for uninsured men and 51 percent higher for those on Medicaid than patients who had private or other forms of health coverage, the researchers reported.
“Although testis cancer is curable with chemotherapy, this study supports the notion that lack of insurance may lead to delays in diagnosis and more advanced and less curable disease,” said study lead author Christopher Sweeney, MBBS, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC). “Our findings support the belief that early diagnosis and management is key, and removal of barriers to access to health care should be implemented.”
Lack of insurance coverage was also associated with worse survival in patients with glioblastoma brain tumors, according to a companion report in Cancer.
“Studies such as these are important if we are to truly address the cancer problem,” wrote Michael Halpern, MD, of the University of Arizona Medical School, and Otis Brawley, MD, of the ACS and Emory University, in an editorial accompanying the reports.
In the testicular cancer study, the researchers found that uninsured and Medicaid-covered patients had an increased risk of having larger testicular cancer tumors or metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis. Uninsured men and Medicaid patients whose cancer had spread beyond the testes were more likely to have their …