Insurance Status Affects Survival Rate in Hodgkin's

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Results of a troubling new study show just how much insurance matters when discussing outcomes in a largely curable cancer.

According to the study, published in the journal Cancer, patients diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma who either have Medicaid or do not have insurance do much worse than patients with so-called 'favorable' insurance.

These researchers analyzed the data from 45,777 patients with stage I to IV Hodgkin lymphoma from the National Cancer Data Base. Of those:

  • 7.1% were uninsured
  • 17% had Medicaid
  • 66.3% had private insurance
  • 8.2% had managed care
  • 1.1% had Medicare

Patients with Medicaid or who did not have insurance were not only diagnosed at a more advanced stage, they also had higher comorbidity scores, were more likely to have B symptoms, and were in a lower education/income quartile.

Notably, patients with the unfavorable insurance status were found to be less likely to receive radiation therapy, and to begin chemotherapy as quickly as those with favorable insurance.

The five year overall survival rates between the two groups were also very telling. The rate for patients with unfavorable insurance or none at all was 54 percent, while for patients with favorable insurance had a rate of 87 percent.

The researchers conclude that targeting patients with unfavorable insurance would help improve outcomes.

Source: Cancer

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