Trending News Today: Influence of Insurance Status on Cancer Survival

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

Privately insured individuals with glioblastoma multiforme or testicular cancer were found to be diagnosed earlier, and have a longer survival time than those who were uninsured or covered by Medicaid, reported Kaiser Health News. A pair of studies used data from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, which showed that regardless of the type of cancer, patients with private insurance were at a survival advantage. In the testicular cancer study, uninsured patients were 26% more likely to have metastatic disease than privately insured patients, and Medicaid patients were 62% more likely to have metastatic disease. Furthermore, uninsured men were 88% more likely to die of the cancer, and Medicaid patients were 51% more likely, compared with privately insured men. The glioblastoma multiforme study saw a similar pattern, with Medicaid and uninsured patients more likely to have a larger tumor at the time of diagnosis. Additionally, uninsured patients were 14% more likely to have a shorter survival time than privately insured patients, while Medicaid patients were 10% more likely to have a shorter survival time.

The federal Office of Research Integrity, which monitors misconduct in biomedical research, is facing turmoil that could result in jeopardizing oversight of billions of dollars in grants to universities and other institutions, reported The Washington Post. Out of the 8 investigators in the government office, 6 have signed a letter that hints at their possible departure, an action that could cripple federal efforts to data manipulation, or other misconduct by lab researchers. As of now, the office’s new head has filed personnel actions against 2 division directors she inherited, and brought in a new deputy to supervise the entire staff, the Post reported.

Brain cancer has official replaced leukemia as the leading cause of cancer death in children and adolescents. According to The Washington Post, in 1999 nearly one-third of cancer deaths in patients 1- to 19-years-old were attributed to leukemia, while a quarter were caused by brain cancer. By 2014, these numbers switched, bringing brain cancer into the top slot. Although brain cancer deaths first surpassed leukemia in 2011, it wasn’t until 2014 when the gap was large enough that statisticians could conclude it a true finding. The decrease in leukemia deaths is a result of the huge developments made in effective chemotherapy regimens, as well as finding the best ways to use radiation and bone-marrow transplants, while brain cancer is still difficult to treat.