New American Cancer Society Study Finds Cancer Patients Living in States with Lower Income Eligibility Limits Had Lower Cancer Survival Rates

Study Also Reported That Increasing Access to Medicaid Saves Lives from Cancer

June 10, 2021

MONTOMGERY, AL – MAY 20, 2021 – A new study from the American Cancer Society released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) shows the lifesaving impact increasing access to Medicaid has on cancer survivorship. The study finds that patients with cancer living in states with lower Medicaid income eligibility limits, such as Alabama, had worse long-term survival rates. ACS CAN has long advocated for states to increase access to Medicaid and continues to work with lawmakers in the 12 remaining states that have not yet done so to take this critical step to ensure more individuals have access to Medicaid programs. Increasing access to more adults with lower incomes promotes earlier cancer detection, fewer deaths and improved outcomes for patients.

Emily Ogden, Alabama Regional Government Relations Director for ACS CAN
“These findings are just another example of how crucial of a role simply having healthcare plays in survivorship, and the higher cancer mortality rates we see in rural communities across our state because of our resistance to make care more accessible for families.

"Countless Alabamians, including cancer patients, survivors and those currently in the dark on their diagnosis have lost their jobs, have faced serious economic hardship due to the coronavirus including many now finding themselves uninsured. Closing the gap would give Alabamians - many of whom have worked on the frontlines of the pandemic - a fighting chance against our state's second leading cause of death and protect them when they need it most."

Alabama Cancer Statistics
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Alabama. This year alone, nearly 31,000 Alabamians will be diagnosed with cancer, a number that has yet to factor in the pandemic’s impact on preventive life-saving screenings.

Key Findings from Association of state Medicaid income eligibility limits and long-term survival after cancer diagnosis in the United States:

  • This study analyzed the outcomes of 1.5 million adult cancer patients across the country with the 17 most common cancers to understand the impact of Medicaid eligibility limits on cancer survival.
  • Cancer patients across cancer types and stages have worse long-term cancer survival in states with the lowest Medicaid eligibility limits.
  • For breast cancer patients in states with the lowest income eligibility (<50% FPL), there was a 31% greater mortality risk than Medicaid expansion states.
  • Patients with other types of cancer have similar increased mortality.
  • Increasing eligibility for health insurance through Medicaid may help improve cancer diagnosis and survival.
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