Doctors have known for decades the earlier a patient's cancer is identified, the greater the odds for a cure.
A recent study by researchers from the American Cancer Society indicates patients who have regular screenings since implementation of Affordable Care Act (ACA) are more likely to be diagnosed at the earliest, most treatable stage of four types of cancers, a posting on the American Society of Clinical Oncology website said.
The study involving nearly 273,000 cases since implementation of the ACA found a 1 percent increase in the early detection of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer and lung cancer.
However, the study found diagnoses of prostate cancer actually fell 1 percent, leading researchers to urge further investigation.
“We know from previous research that lack of insurance typically results in diagnosis of cancer at a later, and usually less treatable, stage,” Xuesong Han, the American Cancer Society’s strategic director of health policy and health care delivery research, said in the posting. “Although we only analyzed data from a limited timeframe, the fact that there appears to be a positive trend in diagnosis at an earlier stage in multiple cancers is an encouraging sign.”