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No Insurance Puts Latinos at Risk

May 01, 2000|From Newsday

A startling lack of health insurance among Latinos has forced them to miss out on the benefits of early detection for diseases such as diabetes and prostate cancer, according to a study released recently by a leading physicians group.

The 18-page report by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine mirrored other studies that found Latinos account for one-fourth of the 44 million Americans without health coverage.

But the report went a step further and traced the consequences of that void.

"Early detection and treatment is the key to the effective management of diseases such as diabetes and cancer," said Dr. Whitney Addington, president of the society. "Yet, the lack of health insurance among Latinos means many members of this population are destined to undergo needless suffering and even death."

According to the report:

* Diabetes-related renal disease in the Latino population is up to six times greater than in the non-Latino white population.

* Uninsured Latinas with breast cancer are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed at a later stage compared with non-Latinas.

* Uninsured Latinos with prostate cancer are almost four times more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage than non-Latinos.

* Uninsured Latino children with asthma are six times more likely not to receive standard treatment than non-Latinos.

* Mexican Americans are up to 3 1/2 times less likely to seek care to control hypertension than the general population.

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