Health insurance coverage is associated with improved cancer-specific outcomes for young adults, according to a study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Ayal A. Aizer, MD, MHS, from the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program in Boston, and colleagues examined the correlation between insurance status and cancer-specific outcomes in young adults. Data were obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program for 39,447 patients aged 20-40 years and diagnosed with a malignant neoplasm between 2007 and 2009.

The researchers found that uninsured patients were significantly more likely to be younger, male, nonwhite, and unmarried, and also were significantly more likely to be from regions of lower income, education, and population density than insured patients.

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Insurance coverage correlated with a significant 16% decreased likelihood of presentation with metastatic disease, 1.9 times increased likelihood of receiving definitive treatment, and 23% decreased risk of death from any cause, after adjustment for relevant confounding variables.

“The improved coverage fostered by the Affordable Care Act may translate into better outcomes among most young adults with cancer,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries.