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For non-whites, geography plays key role in colon cancer screening
Date:1/10/2011

New research from UC Davis Cancer Center has found that whether a person gets screened for colon cancer often depends on where they live in addition to their race or ethnicity.

It has long been known that racial minorities have lower colorectal screening rates than whites, presumably because of differences in socioeconomic status, access to care and cultural issues. What hasn't been known, until now, is whether these differences also vary across geographic regions.

In a paper published online today in the journal Cancer, medical oncologist Thomas Semrad and colleagues at UC Davis Cancer Center demonstrate that while screening rates for whites rarely vary regardless of geography, location accounts for significant differences in colorectal testing among non-whites.

Semrad and his team analyzed data from 53,990 Medicare enrollees ages 69 to 79 in eight states and 11 regions including: Atlanta, Ga.; rural Georgia; San Francisco-Oakland; San Jose-Monterey; Los Angeles County; Seattle-Puget Sound, Wash.; Detroit, Mich.; Connecticut; Hawaii; Iowa; and New Mexico.

Individuals were considered up-to-date on colon cancer screening if they had a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy within the prior five years or fecal occult blood testing within the past year. The researchers controlled for sociodemographic, medical and environmental factors that could affect regional differences in colorectal cancer screening.

What they found was that whites were more likely to be up-to-date on screening than other races everywhere, except in Hawaii, where Asian-Pacific Islanders had significantly higher screening rates than whites (52 percent versus 38 percent).

"This is a stunning finding," said Semrad. "Screening rates among Asians in Hawaii were the highest of any group in any cancer registry area, including whites."

Semrad suspects that a potential explanation is the influence of Japanese culture in Hawaii. Since o
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Contact: Dorsey Griffith
dorsey.griffith@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9118
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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