Home Family Practice Early-Stage Cervical CA Diagnoses in Young Women Up Since ACA

Early-Stage Cervical CA Diagnoses in Young Women Up Since ACA

Provision allowing young adults to stay on parents’ insurance may account for more screening

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 25, 2015 (HealthDay News) — More early-stage cervical cancers have been diagnosed among young U.S. women since a key provision of the Affordable Care Act went into effect, according to a research letter published in the Nov. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The rule, which took hold in September 2010, ensures that adults aged 19 to 25 have the option of remaining on their parents’ health insurance. No similar shift in cervical cancer diagnosis was seen among 26- to 34-year-olds, whose insurance coverage was unaffected by the rule.

Xuesong Han, Ph.D., who directs surveillance and health services research for the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues used a national database that captures about 70 percent of all cancer cases in the United States each year. They looked at cervical cancer diagnoses among women aged 21 to 34, both before and after the dependent-coverage rule went into effect.

Among 21- to 25-year-olds, the proportion of women diagnosed with early-stage cancer grew after the provision took hold: From 2007 to 2009, early-stage tumors accounted for 68 percent of all cervical cancers; by 2011, that proportion had grown to 84 percent. The proportion of early-stage cancers did decline again in 2012, to just over 72 percent. But Han offered a potential explanation: In 2011, the first full year of the rule, there may have simply been more early-stage cancers out there to detect.

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