Prior studies demonstrate that Medicaid expansion has been associated with earlier-stage breast cancer diagnosis among women with low income, likely through increased access to cancer screening services. However, how this policy change has impacted geospatial disparities in breast cancer stage at diagnosis is unclear.
To examine whether there were reductions in geospatial disparities in advanced stage breast cancer at diagnosis in Ohio after Medicaid expansion.
The study included 33 537 women aged 40 to 64 years diagnosed with invasive breast cancer from the Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System between 2010 and 2017. The space-time scan statistic was used to detect clusters of advanced stage at diagnosis before and after Medicaid expansion. Block group variables from the Census were used to describe the contextual characteristics of detected clusters.
The percentage of local stage diagnosis among women with breast cancer increased from 60.2% in the pre-expansion period (2010-2013) to 62.6% in the post-expansion period (2014-2017), while the uninsured rate among those women decreased from 13.7% to 7.5% during the same period. Two statistically significant (P < .05) and 6 nonsignificant spatial clusters (P > .05) of advanced stage breast cancer cases were found in the pre-expansion period, while none were found in the post-expansion period. These clusters were in the 4 largest metropolitan areas in Ohio, and individuals inside the clusters were more likely to be disadvantaged along numerous socioeconomic factors.
Medicaid expansion has played an important role in reducing geospatial disparities in breast cancer stage at diagnosis, likely through the reduction of advanced stage disease among women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities.