This study examines the association between Medicaid enrollment, including through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), and distant stage for three screening-amenable cancers: breast, cervical, and colorectal.


We use the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Cancer Registry linked with Medicaid enrollment data to compare patients who were Medicaid insured with patients who were not Medicaid insured. We estimate the likelihood of distant stage at diagnosis using logistic regression.


Medicaid enrollment following diagnosis was associated with the highest likelihood of distant stage. Medicaid enrollment through NBCCEDP did not mitigate the likelihood of distant stage disease relative to Medicaid enrollment prior to diagnosis. Non-Hispanic Black patients had a greater likelihood of distant stage breast and colorectal cancer. Residing in higher socioeconomic areas was associated with a lower likelihood of distant stage breast cancer.


Medicaid enrollment prior to diagnosis is associated with a lower likelihood of distant stage in screen amenable cancers but does not fully ameliorate disparities.


Our study highlights the importance of health insurance coverage prior to diagnosis and demonstrates that while targeted programs such as the NBCCEDP provide critical access to screening, they are not a substitute for comprehensive insurance coverage.

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