Politics and Cervical Cancer?

Medscape reports on two recent analyses of medical data. The results show an increase in “distant” cervical cancer among white women between the ages of 30 and 34. In one study, the rate of increase among whites in this age group is 2.8% per year, as compared with no growth among black women. A second analysis conducted by researchers at UCLA produced similar results, although slightly different rates. “Distant” cancer is one that has spread to other organs in the body such as the liver and colon. Traditionally, black women have been more at risk for this disease. That appears to be changing.(1)

Why the change?

Analysis of survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) suggests that white women are twice as likely to skip recommended screening for cervical cancer as are black women. Of course, that means that when cancer in these women is discovered, it will be at a more advanced state — making it more costly to treat with less certain outcomes.

Why are more white women skipping screening?

The BRFSS doesn’t include questions about political orientation, however, it is women from Trump-leaning states who are more likely to fail to follow medical guidelines. One obvious hypothesis is that women who are antivax are also likely to disregard other recommendations from the “medical establishment” — often to their own detriment and to the detriment of their families.

I’ll add another hypothesis to this. My suspicion is that these medical skeptics are also more likely to purchase unregulated health “insurance” such as religion-based cost-sharing plans. These plans are not ACA compliant, use the religious exemption to escape regulation, provide limited benefits for hospitalization and often reserve the right to deny coverage for treatments they perceive as “too expensive.” The consumer using an unregulated plan has no recourse in the face of a surprise denial. When these plans fail to come through for the patient, medical providers and taxpayers are left with uncollectable bills. It’s a crazy situation that wouldn’t exist with national health insurance.

Lemmings are fabled for being willing to follow their leaders blindly over cliffs. Apparently, some humans share that characteristic.

Source: Getty Images


  1. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/986408?src=WNL_dne2_230104_MSCPEDIT&uac=446438BR&impID=5059898#vp_1


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