State Insurance Legislation May Improve Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Legislation mandating insurance coverage for breast cancer screening more impactful than breast density notification



WEDNESDAY, Sept. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — State legislation improving insurance coverage for additional breast cancer screening is more important than mandated breast density notification in reducing the odds of being diagnosed with advanced cancer, according to a study published online Aug. 8 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Chan Shen, Ph.D., from the Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, and colleagues used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database to identify patients (aged 40 to 74 years) diagnosed with breast cancer between 2005 and 2016.

The researchers found that the impact of mandated breast density notification legislation was not significant, but legislation mandating insurance coverage for additional screening was associated with slightly lower odds of being diagnosed at the regional stage (odds ratio, 0.94). This association was even stronger among women aged 40 to 49 years (odds ratio, 0.89) for being diagnosed at the regional stage and at the distant stage (odds ratio, 0.88). There was a benefit seen for Hispanic women with lower odds of being diagnosed at the distant stage with notification laws (odds ratio, 0.89).

“This study illustrates that policies and legislation are just one piece of the complex puzzle of factors contributing to patient care,” Shen said in a statement. “In the future, we will continue to investigate how targeted communications and efforts like patient navigation — where specially-trained staff help patients overcome obstacles needed to receive optimal medical care — can help improve health care among specific age and race groups.”

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