THURSDAY, Dec. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- In their first year, the 2014 Medicaid expansions, facilitated by the Affordable Care Act, were associated with an increase in cancer diagnoses, particularly at the early stage, according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Aparna Soni, from Indiana University in Bloomington, and colleagues used Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Cancer Registry data (2010 through 2014) to assess whether the Medicaid expansions facilitated by the Affordable Care Act affected overall and early-stage cancer diagnoses for nonelderly adults. County-level diagnosis rates were examined for 611 counties, some of which expanded Medicaid and some of which did not.

The researchers found that Medicaid expansion was associated with an increase in overall cancer diagnoses of 3.4 percent, or 13.8 per 100,000 population. At the same time, early-stage diagnoses increased by 6.4 percent, or 15.4 per 100,000 population. There were no significant changes in late-stage diagnoses.

"Expanding public health insurance may be an avenue for improving cancer detection, which is associated with improved patient outcomes, including reduced mortality," the authors write.

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