Purpose Many low-income patients enroll in Medicaid at the time of cancer diagnosis, which improves survival outcomes. Medicaid enrollment before cancer diagnosis may confer additional benefits. Our objective was to compare stage at diagnosis and overall mortality between women with and without Medicaid enrollment before gynecologic cancer diagnosis. Methods and Materials Women younger than 65 years with a gynecologic cancer (2003 to 2008) were identified through the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry and linked to state Medicaid enrollment files. Those with and without Medicaid enrollment within 6 months before diagnosis were identified. Propensity matching was used to balance the exposure groups. Stage at diagnosis was evaluated by using logistic regression, and all-cause mortality was assessed with Cox proportional hazard models. Results Of 564 women, one half (n = 282) had prediagnosis Medicaid enrollment. Disease sites included the cervix (44%), uterus (25%), ovary (26%), and vulva/vagina (5%). More than one half (51%) of cancers were advanced stage. Women without prediagnosis Medicaid had an increased odds of advanced-stage disease (hazard ratio, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.03 to 2.05). Crude survival outcomes differed significantly between the groups; however, when adjusted for stage at diagnosis, lack of prediagnosis Medicaid coverage had a hazard ratio of 1.19 (95% CI, 0.92 to 1.53). Conclusion Medicaid enrollment before gynecologic cancer diagnosis is associated with an earlier stage at presentation. Given the existence of a cervical cancer screening program in North Carolina and lack of Medicaid expansion, these data suggest that screening programs alone are not sufficient to counteract the delay in diagnosis that is common for uninsured individuals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy