Study Reveals Location, Race, and Insurance Status Impact Likelihood of Late-Stage Cancer Diagnosis

May 29, 2024
Non-Hispanic Black patients and those with Medicaid or no insurance face higher odds of late-stage diagnosis, even if living close to a cancer center.

A new analysis of medical records of over 94,000 patients with cancer demonstrates that “location, race, and insurance status play a significant part in the odds of a patient being diagnosed with early-stage or late-stage cancer.”

Specifically, “patients who lived farther away from a facility designated a comprehensive cancer center (CCC) by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and who received only a diagnosis or only treatment at the center had higher than average odds of a late-stage diagnosis, as did non-Hispanic Black patients and patients with Medicaid or no insurance, regardless of their location, the researchers report.”

This tracks with previous studies that showed that “patients who do not receive their first treatment at a CCC experience worse cancer outcomes.”

The research team first determined how to define what a “catchment area” served by a CCC actually is. Michael Desjardins, Ph.D., one of the investigators, decided to “focus on the closest 75% of patients as determined by miles along the road network using a geographic mean center of Johns Hopkins’ five hospitals.”

Then, the team analyzed data from 94,007 patients who “received a cancer diagnosis, cancer treatment, or both a diagnosis and treatment from 2010 to 2019.” They determined that non-Hispanic Black patients “had higher odds of receiving a late-stage cancer diagnosis compared to average, even if they lived close to the Kimmel Cancer Center.” People with no insurance, unknown insurance, or Medicaid “also had higher odds of receiving a late-stage cancer diagnosis.” Additionally, “patients who lived outside the 75% catchment area and received only treatment or only a diagnosis at a CCC also had higher odds of a late-stage diagnosis.”

About the Author

Matt MacKenzie | Associate Editor

Matt is Associate Editor for Healthcare Purchasing News.