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Medicaid Expansion Tied to Increased Detection of Early Cancers

Three years after expansion, a decrease in late-stage cancers was also detectable

doctor and patient reviewing mammogram

THURSDAY, Nov. 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was associated with an increase in early-stage cancer diagnoses in the first year after expansion and a decrease in late-stage cancer diagnoses three years after expansion, according to a study published online Nov. 11 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Lauren Lin, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues used data from the 2010 to 2016 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program to assess the effects of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansions on rates of early- and late-stage cancer diagnoses up to three years after implementation.

The researchers found that Medicaid expansion was associated with an increase in early-stage cancer diagnoses of 21.3 per 100,000 population or 9.14 percent of the population in its first year. For years 2 and 3, results trended positive, but were smaller and not statistically significant. For late-stage diagnoses, there was a marginally significant reduction of 8.7 per 100,000 population or 5.7 percent of the population relative to baseline at three years after Medicaid expansion. There was no association noted between expansion and total diagnoses.

"Medicaid expansions increased early-stage cancer diagnosis in the first year of expansion, but effects dissipated in subsequent years, suggesting a response to pent-up patient demand for screening and diagnostic services immediately after expansion," the authors write.

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