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Private health insurance leads to increased screening

23 September 2011 - 2:39pm

A study released this month has further strengthened the case of Australians contemplating private health insurance, with research revealing a link between private cover and increases in the rates of cancer screening.

Ireland's Health Research Board commissioned a study which surveyed over 10,000 adults in relation to screenings for breast, prostate and cervical cancer over a 12 month period.

It found that those with private health insurance felt they were able to access screening programs more quickly - resulting in more overall cancer checks.

Researcher Professor Ciaran O'Neill says: "Our research seems to indicate that just because you have a publicly funded cancer screening programme, it doesn't mean that you will see equal uptake of screening services or the end of differences in morbidity or mortality associated with cancer.

"Individuals may be more likely to go for screening if they think insurance will afford them faster access to diagnostic or treatment services," he asserts.

It is believed that the results will have major implications on future health policies.

Australians should investigate the options available to them for identifying any in a range of potential cancers as early as possible in order to begin timely treatment.