Uninsured Cancer Patients Die More Often

Study finds 5-year mortality rate almost twice as high
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2007 4:26 PM CST
A patient in San Francisco undergoes chemotherapy.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Cancer patients without health insurance are 1.6 times more likely to die within five years of diagnosis than the insured, the AP reports. A new study by the American Cancer Society examined records for 600,000 patients under 65 in 1,500 US hospitals and found that 35% of the uninsured were dead after five years, whereas only 23% of those with private insurance or Medicaid had died.

Forced to pay out of pocket, the uninsured are less likely to get the regular screenings and quality treatment that can catch cancer before it grows out of control. "Our national reluctance to face these facts is condemning thousands of people to die from cancer each year," the president of the Cancer Society concluded. The AP estimates that at least 20,000 of the 56,000 people in the US who die each year of cancer are uninsured.