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Insurance Status Liked to Laryngeal Cancer Stage

Advanced-stage disease seen more often in patients who are uninsured or on Medicaid

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients who are diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, advanced-stage disease is significantly more common among those who are uninsured or covered by Medicaid, according to a report published in the August issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

Amy Y. Chen, M.D., of Emory University and the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data on 61,131 patients -- including 32,665 (53.4 percent) with early-stage disease and 28,466 (46.6 percent) with advanced-stage disease -- who were diagnosed between 1996 and 2003.

Compared to patients with private insurance, those who were diagnosed with advanced-stage disease were significantly more likely to be uninsured (odds ratio, 1.97) or covered by Medicaid (OR, 2.40). They also found that uninsured patients (OR, 2.92) or Medicaid patients (OR, 3.97) were more likely to present with larger tumors (T4 disease). Advanced-stage disease and larger tumors were also more common among patients who were black, aged 18 to 56, or lived in low-income neighborhoods.

"Insurance coverage is a highly modifiable factor that affects not only tumor-associated morbidity and mortality but also quality of life and economic costs," the authors conclude.

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