Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, affecting nearly two million people yearly and taking more than one-half a million lives every year. Almost one-half of the people who suffer from cancer are diagnosed with the deadly condition late.
More often than not, late-stage diagnoses significantly limit the effectiveness of treatment and reduce chances of survival. Research by the UK government’s director of cancer services shows that up to 10,000 people die every year due to late-stage cancer diagnoses
According to a study published in the “Cancer” journal, pediatric patients from racial and ethnic minorities are much more likely to receive late cancer diagnoses, partly due to a lack of access to proper health insurance coverage.
Building on previous studies that found the existence of ethnic and racial disparities when it came to late-stage diagnoses in both adult and pediatric patients, the recent study was designed to determine the impact of health insurance on cancer diagnoses in pediatric cancer patients. According to the researchers, this data would help inform more research into late-stage cancer diagnoses and make it possible to develop cancer-control strategies that would ensure most cancer patients are diagnosed early.
To find out the role played by health coverage in cancer diagnosis, the research team reviewed data sourced from 27,830 patients aged 19 years or younger who had received cancer diagnoses between 2007 and 2016. They excluded data from patients with myelodysplastic syndrome, leukemia and myeloproliferative neoplasms.
An estimated 53% of the patients reviewed were non-Hispanic White, 27.6% were Hispanic, 11.6% were non-Hispanic Black and 7.7% were Pacific Highlander/non-Hispanic Asian.
Analysis that looked at multiple variables revealed that patients from racial/ethnic minorities were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer later. Furthermore, after adjusting for sex, age and socioeconomic status, the researchers found that non-Hispanic Black patients and Pacific Highlander/non-Hispanic Asian communities were much more likely to be diagnosed with distant cancer compared to non-Hispanic White patients.
Adjusting for health insurance status revealed that ethnic/racial minorities were more likely to lack access to consistent health care compared to non-Hispanic White patients. The researchers said that if they could access reliable and consistent healthcare, the prevalence of late-stage cancer diagnoses in Hispanics, non-Hispanic Blacks and non-Hispanic Pacific Highlanders/Asians would decrease by 49%, 22% and 9% respectively.
The scientists concluded that disparities in access to reliable healthcare could be partly responsible for late cancer diagnosis in children and adults from racial/ethnic minorities; with that in mind, they called for further research.
Other companies, including QSAM Biosciences Inc. (OTCQB: QSAM), are also conducting their own research, but their focus is on advancing the field of cancer therapeutics so that any patient diagnosed with this ailment stands a chance of beating the life-threatening condition.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to QSAM Biosciences Inc. (OTCQB: QSAM) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/QSAM
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