Among African Americans, colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death. With the proper screening, it has a 90 percent cure rate, yet screening rates are much lower among this group than other ethnic groups.
Many researchers have tried to figure out why, but most have only looked at African Americans as one group, and therefore haven't explored the differences in what keeps African American men and women from getting this potentially life-saving test.
"Most studies have looked at African Americans as a whole and have outlined differences that might exist in different segments of the population," said Sarah Bauerle Bass, an associate professor of public health in the College of Health Professions and Social Work.
In a study published this month in the Journal of Cancer Education's online edition, lead author Bass and a team of researchers looked at data collected from focus groups of 23 African American men and women over the course of six months. While women generally reported being more aware of the need for screening and more amenable to the procedure, men reported several barriers that kept them from getting tested, including less trust in the health care system, apprehension to being put to sleep for the procedure, and in some cases, a perceived sexual connotation of having a colonoscopy.
Bass said that because African American men are at a much greater risk of colon cancer than other groups, it's important to understand what's keeping them from being tested, so that an educational program can target those specific barriers.
"None of the existing research on colorectal cancer screening rates among this group has broken it down this way," she said. "It provides us with information that can help us develop educational materials or public information campaigns that are tailored to specific characteristics and differences in thinking."
Among those that had previously be
|Contact: Renee Cree|