More women in Louisiana are receiving breast cancer diagnoses sooner and better access to care and treatment since Medicaid was expanded in Louisiana in 2016, a forthcoming Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center study found.

The study is set for publication in an upcoming issue of Cancer, the interdisciplinary journal of the American Cancer Society. The lead author is Dr. Quyen Chu, a Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at LSU Health Shreveport.

Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Courtney Phillips said the study is a good reminder of the importance of staying up to date on routine screenings, especially after many residents understandably put off care during the early days of the pandemic.

Because of Medicaid expansion, more than 91,000 women in Louisiana have received screening or diagnostic breast imaging, many for the first time. More than 1,100 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer as a result of those screenings.

The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center study found that Medicaid expansion has led to a:
  • 27% increase in early-stage diagnosis of breast cancer;
  • 19% increase in access to care for breast cancer; and a
  • 16% reduction in the delay of receiving care.
The study also found that the increase in early-stage diagnoses was aided by the decrease in the number of people who were uninsured.

“Improving health outcomes for all Louisianans is a top priority for the Department of Health, so it’s encouraging to have additional evidence that Medicaid expansion is working,” Dr. Phillips said.

Governor John Bel Edwards signed an executive order expanding the Medicaid program in the state on his first day in office. Expansion went into effect in July 2016 and has since boosted Louisianans’ access to medical care.

For more information on this study, and for interview requests for Dr. Chu, please contact Sean Ellis in the Bureau of Media and Communications at or 225-342-9010