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Young patients more likely to die in countries where health care is funded by private insurance

London, UK-- Countries that have national health services easily accessible to people of all ages are more likely to have better survival rates for their teenagers and young adults (TYAs) with cancer, than are countries where individuals have to pay for their own medical insurance.

This is the suggestion that arises from new research presented at the 4th International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine today (Friday 31 March 2006), in which the health care systems of the United States of America and Australia were compared.

Professor Archie Bleyer told the conference, organised by Teenage Cancer Trust, that Australia's system of health insurance for all, regardless of age, meant that TYAs were more likely to survive cancer in Australia than they were in the USA.

Prof Bleyer, who is medical advisor at the Cancer Treatment Center, St Charles Medical Center, Bend, Oregon, said: "However, both countries have a lower survival rate for their TYAs than for their younger and older patients, proving that TYAs remain the most neglected group of cancer patients across the globe.

"Our previous research has shown that the survival of older teenagers and young adults with cancer in the United States has lagged behind progress in younger and older patients. We found that diagnosis was delayed in TYAs who either lacked health insurance or had inadequate insurance, and therefore this lack of progress might be due to the USA health care system and less expected in countries with national health insurance.

"During the past year we have compared survival of TYAs in the USA with those in Australia, a country similar in many demographics to the USA, but with health insurance provided to all citizens regardless of age.

"From 1982 to 1998, the rate of improvement in the five-year survival from invasive cancer in Australia exceeded that which occurred in the USA, such that by the late 1990s, TYAs in Australia had an overa
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-771-129-6986
Teenage Cancer Trust
31-Mar-2006


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