A new study of more than 200 Davidson County women diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer between 2008 and 2018 by Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers found that 77% of those women did not receive recommended screening or follow-up before their diagnosis.
The study, published in the BMC Women’s Health journal, led by Health Policy services Analyst Dr. Emmanuel Sackey, MB ChB, MPH, and Jessica Castilho, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Medicine, also examined prior insurance status of the women diagnosed with cervical cancer in the county, which revealed more than a quarter of the women were uninsured or underinsured in the 5 years preceding their diagnosis.
Nearly 1 in 5 of the women (18%) had no documented insurance coverage at the time of their diagnostic procedure. Women who lacked insurance or were underinsured were 4 times more likely to not have recommended screening or follow-up, the study found.
Within racial and ethnic groups, more than half (55%) of Hispanic women were found to have a history of underinsurance.
Researchers recommended policy makers and health care providers conduct a critical examination of factors impacting cervical cancer screening, like consistent health insurance coverage, that can help improve access to preventive care services and reduce the cervical cancer burden in the U.S.
The study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded Emerging Infections Cooperative Agreement.