Breast cancer stage at diagnosis in relation to duration of medicaid enrollment

Carin I. Perkins, William E. Wright, Mark Allen, Steven J. Samuels, Patrick S Romano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Stage at diagnosis has been used to compare the quality of cancer screening services by health insurance type, using membership at diagnosis or treatment. This study evaluates breast cancer stage among women on Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, in relation to duration of coverage to assess the impact of including women with recently acquired benefits in the Medi-Cal group. METHODS. Breast cancers diagnosed in 1993 among women ages 30 to 64 were obtained from the statewide, population-based cancer registry and linked to Medi-Cal enrollment files. Women on Medi-Cal when diagnosed were categorized based on months covered during the 12 months preceding diagnosis (12, 1-11, or none), and compared with all other women with breast cancer. Logistic regression models measured the effect of duration of Medi-Cal coverage on the odds of late-stage disease, controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, health access, and tumor characteristics. RESULTS. Among women with Medi-Cal benefits when diagnosed, 18% were not covered during the year preceding diagnosis, and late-stage disease was common among these women. The odds ratio for late-stage disease among all women on Medi-Cal was 1.67 (95% CI 1.41, 1.97), but was reduced by 42% to 1.39 (95% CI 1.15, 1.67) when women without benefits before diagnosis were excluded from the Medi-Cal group. CONCLUSIONS. Women with Medi-Cal benefits before diagnosis were more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage disease than other women with breast cancer. However, the practice of assigning health insurance status based on enrollment at diagnosis underestimates the effect of access to breast cancer screening through Medicaid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1224-1233
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Care
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2001


  • Access to health care
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Diagnosis stage
  • Health insurance
  • Medicaid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)


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