Prevalence of Late-Stage Cancer Diagnoses Among Uninsured, Minorities Points to Need for Universal Health Care, Editorial Says
"Treating health care as a commodity from which private businesses derive huge profits has produced a system that willingly allows uninsured Americans and minorities to suffer and die from treatable cancers at a much higher rate than white Americans who have health insurance," a Eugene Register-Guard editorial states.
Recent research from the American Cancer Society found that people without health insurance were two or three times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer in later stages than insured patients. In addition, blacks were much more likely than whites to be diagnosed in late stages for 10 of the 12 cancers studied. Even after adjusting for lack of health insurance, blacks still lagged behind whites in terms of early cancer diagnosis. Hispanics also had a higher risk than whites of late-stage cancer diagnosis, but it was not as high as for blacks.
The editorial notes that recent research has found that uninsured people in the U.S. have a 25% higher risk of dying than those who are insured. According to the editorial, "The latest research by the American Cancer Society confirms that one reason for that cruel disparity is that uninsured cancer patients are more likely to die as a result of later detection of their disease."
"The solution is painfully obvious and morally imperative: universal health care for all Americans," the editorial concludes (Eugene Register-Guard, 2/24).