The study appears in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Karen Glanz, a professor of medicine and nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and an editorial board member of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, said the study documents some of the barriers to colorectal cancer screening.
"The idea that colorectal cancer screening rates are too low is not a new idea, but this is one of the first to document it in a specific population," Glanz said. "Access to care clearly has consequences, and any talk of health care reform needs to address proven prevention measures like screening."
Low-income, uninsured women have access to other screenings through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
While good for breast and cervical cancer screening efforts, many other types of cancers don't benefit from such a comprehensive screening approach.
"Theoretically, the same model could be applied to colorectal cancer, but do we want to keep passing legislation for programs that target specific types of cancer, or could we provide more broad access to health care so we can make a serious and coordinated effort at prevention?" Gupta said. "That's the question that needs answering."
Colorectal cancer, which kills nearly 50,000 Americans a year, is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States after lung cancer. There are several types of screening tests available.
The National Cancer Institute has more on colorectal cancer screening.
-- Jennifer Thomas
SOURCE: Cancer Epide
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