Those who don’t have coverage are also less likely to be up to date with their checkups.
The findings of a recent study have shown that individuals who don’t have health insurance and//or who live in rural areas have a lower likelihood of keeping their routine health checkups up to date and to receive the cancer screenings that are recommended for someone within their age or risk group.
Screening for cancers has been an issue of significant controversy and debate over the last few years.
Even by the standards of the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), which is backed by the government – which many feel are on the conservative side – the rates for screenings of cervical and breast cancers were found to be quite low in this new research. In Oregon, only half of the women in the state met the recommendations of the USPSTF.
According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Patricia Carney, who is an Oregon Health and Science University researcher in Portland, “People in rural areas tend to go to the doctor only when they are ill, so they don’t get the chance to talk about cancer screenings.”
Other studies have already shown that those without health insurance also have lower rates.
Those previous studies concentrated on individuals in cities and towns. This more recent research, funded in part by the American Cancer Society (ACS), has shown that this is even lower among people who live in rural areas. It looked into medical charts from the last ten years at two different private health practices, as well as from two public health centers that were publicly funded in rural regions of Oregon. It included data from over 3,000 women and men, all of whom were over the age of 55 by the beginning of the study.
They discovered that approximately one in ten of the patients did not have health insurance. Those who were covered either had private insurance, or a combination of Medicare or Medicaid and private insurance. The coverage status of approximately 16 percent of the patients was not known to the researchers. However, those who did have a plan were far more likely to have their ACS recommended cancer screenings than those who did not.