Health Insurance Coverage and Survival Outcomes among Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Patients: A SEER Retrospective Analysis

Keaton Pendergrast, Ashley Diaz, Daniel Bujnowski, Haobin Chen, Peleg Horowitz, Paramita Das, Christopher Roxbury

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    2 Scopus citations


    Objectives Insurance coverage plays a critical role in head and neck cancer care. This retrospective study examines how insurance coverage affects nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) survival in the United States using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program database. Design, Setting, and Participants A total of 2,278 patients aged 20 to 64 years according to the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O) codes C11.0-C11.9 and ICD-O histology codes 8070-8078 and 8080-8083 between 2007 and 2016 were included and grouped into privately insured, Medicaid, and uninsured groups. Log-rank test and multivariable Cox's proportional hazard model were performed. Main Outcome Measures Tumor stage, age, sex, race, marital status, disease stage, year of diagnosis, median household county income, and disease-specific survival outcomes including cause of death were analyzed. Results Across all tumor stages, privately insured patients had a 59.0% lower mortality risk than uninsured patients (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.410, 95% confidence interval [CI]: [0.320, 0.526], p < 0.01). Medicaid patients were also estimated to have 19.0% lower mortality than uninsured patients (HR: 0.810, 95% CI: [0.626, 1.048], p = 0.108). Privately insured patients with regional and distant NPC had significantly better survival outcomes compared with uninsured individuals. Localized tumors did not show any association between survival and type of insurance coverage. Conclusion Privately insured individuals had significantly better survival outcomes than uninsured or Medicaid patients, a trend that was preserved after accounting for tumor grade, demographic and clinicopathologic factors. These results underscore the difference in survival outcomes when comparing privately insured to Medicaid/uninsured populations and warrant further investigation in efforts for health care reform.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    JournalJournal of Neurological Surgery Part B: Skull Base
    StatePublished - May 2 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2022 Georg Thieme Verlag. All rights reserved.


    • health insurance
    • insurance coverage
    • insurance status
    • nasopharyngeal carcinoma
    • survival outcomes

    PubMed: MeSH publication types

    • Journal Article


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