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Immigrant patients less likely to report family history of cancer
Date:12/9/2007

Immigrants in the United States may be less likely to report a family history of cancer, which may lead to inadequate screening and cancer prevention strategies according to a new study. Dr. Heather Orom of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit and colleagues argue that as a result of being less likely to report a family history, family history may not be as strong a predictor of cancer risk in immigrant populations. The study is published in the January 15, 2008 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Cancer prevention guidelines recommend earlier and more frequent screening for individuals with a family history of certain cancers. Therefore, knowledge and timely reporting of cancer history can impact access to cancer prevention and screening services. Previous research has identified lower rates of reporting cancer family history among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans than among Whites in the U.S. However, the current study is the first to examine whether an individuals immigrant status, in conjunction with race/ethnicity, plays a role in this under-reporting.

Dr. Orom and co-investigators studied data from 5,010 respondents to the 2005 Health Information Trends Survey. After controlling for race/ethnicity, other sociodemographic variables, and cancer knowledge, foreign-born respondents were about one-third as likely to report a family history of cancer as US-born respondents. The authors found that those who were single, male, or without health coverage were also less likely to report a family history of cancer.

The low rate of cancer history reporting did not change as immigrants became more integrated into American culture with time. The authors suggest that this may be due to fewer opportunities to learn about family health histories afforded to immigrants due to separation from relatives, as well as cultural norms that inhibit family communication about cancer di
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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