Predictors of cancer screening among Black and White Maryland Medicaid enrollees with serious mental illness

Karly A. Murphy, Gail L. Daumit, Emma E. McGinty, Elizabeth M. Stone, Alene Kennedy-Hendricks

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Background: Cancer is the second leading cause of death for people with serious mental illness (SMI), such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. People with SMI receive cancer screenings at lower rates than the general population. Aims: We sought to identify factors associated with cancer screening in a publicly insured population with SMI and stratified by race, a factor itself linked with differential rates of cancer screening. Materials and Methods: We used Maryland Medicaid administrative claims data (2010–2018) to examine screening rates for cervical cancer (N = 40,622), breast cancer (N = 9818), colorectal cancer (N = 19,306), and prostate cancer (N = 4887) among eligible Black and white enrollees with SMI. We examined individual-level socio-demographic and clinical factors, including co-occurring substance use disorder, medical comorbidities, psychiatric diagnosis, obstetric-gynecologic and primary care utilization, as well as county-level characteristics, including metropolitan status, mean household income, and primary care workforce capacity. Generalized estimating equations with a logit link were used to examine the characteristics associated with cancer screening. Results: Compared with white enrollees, Black enrollees were more likely to receive screening for cervical cancer (AOR: 1.18; 95% CI: 1.15-1.22), breast cancer (AOR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.19-1.36), and colorectal cancer (AOR: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.02-1.13), while similar rates were observed for prostate cancer screening (AOR: 1.06; 95% CI: 0.96-1.18). Primary care utilization and longer Medicaid enrollment were positively associated with cancer screening while co-occurring substance use disorder was negatively associated with cancer screening. Conclusion: Improving cancer screening rates among populations with SMI should focus on facilitating continuous insurance coverage and access to primary care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2092-2098
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Medicaid
  • cancer
  • cancer screening
  • oncology
  • preventive care
  • psycho-oncology
  • racial disparities
  • schizophrenia
  • serious mental illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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