What the ACA changed about colorectal cancer — 3 study insights

A study, published in JAMA Oncology, examined how the ACA's implementation impacted colorectal cancer screening.

Maxine Sun, PhD, of Boston-based Harvard Medical School, and colleagues compared age-adjusted incidence rates of early-stage colorectal cancer patient in the nine months pre-and post- ACA implementation, accounting for a six-month adaptation period.

Researchers computed incidence rate ratios and associated 95 percent confidence intervals. They then deduced whether relative differences in incidence rate ratios varied in a significant manner.

Here's what they found:

1. Early-stage colorectal cancer cases increased from pre-ACA implementation period to the post-implementation period, rising from 13.5 cases to 15.3 cases per every 100,000 person-years.

2. The pre-to post-implementation incidence rate ratio was 1.13.

3. Researchers observed a significantly greater change in early-stage colon cancer incidence, than locally advanced metastatic stage cancer.

Researchers concluded incidence rate increased after the ACA was signed into law, saying the results were consistent with "a small but positive impact of the ACA on use of recommended cancer screening, which may vary by cancer site."

Researchers added, "Recent proposals for repealing the ACA would increase the uninsured population by tens of millions. This could easily erase these modest gains."

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