Medicaid expansion linked to lower cancer mortality, study finds

States that were early to adopt Medicaid coverage expansion have seen lower cancer mortality rates than the 11 states that have resisted the change, according to a study from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. 

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that expansion states saw 64.8 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 79.4 deaths in nonexpansion states, according to a Nov. 22 news release.

The study noted that pancreatic cancer saw a decrease of 0.25 deaths per 100,000 people in expansion states between 2007 and 2016. However, in nonexpansion states, mortality rates increased by 0.15 deaths per 100,000 people over the same period. 

"This is important because cancer types like pancreatic have a poor prognosis overall," said  Evan Graboyes, MD, one of the study's authors. "These are areas researchers are especially interested in studying to improve overall patient outcomes."

The study also found decreases in breast, cervical and prostate cancer mortality rates in expansion states.

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