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Investigators examine colorectal cancer screening methods among diverse populations
Date:5/4/2010

but there was a significant difference in adherence based on racial and ethnic groups: Asians (73 percent) and Latinos (70 percent) adhered more often than Caucasians (62 percent) or African Americans (51 percent).

These findings are important because it suggests there are clear racial/ethnic differences in preference and adherence, depending on the procedure, according to John M. Inadomi, MD, professor of medicine at UCSF and chief of clinical gastroenterology, San Francisco General Hospital. Furthermore, the Asian and Latino patients with limited English proficiency adhered more often than Asians and Latinos with proficient English.

"We're taught that patients who don't speak English have poor health outcomes; however, this study shows that if you provide access to health care, low English proficiency is actually associated with better adherence to cancer screening." He added that this may be attributable to the fact that people with limited English proficiency tend to be immigrants; given the barriers to immigrate to the U.S., one might presume that doing so requires high-achieving adeptness and willingness to utilize health-care resources.

This is especially notable since the CRC screening tests are generally unpleasant, and patients who are recommended for screening are asymptomatic. "People need another motivation to get these tests, and that motivation seems to be a greater understanding of the disease and belief that screening has benefits," Dr. Inadomi said. "This study suggests that healthy immigrants do take advantage of health resources if they are made available to them."

One limitation of the study is that though researchers knew the language proficiency and the preference of the language of the patients, they assumed patients' acculturation and immigrant status. It would have also been optimal if the study design included measurement of their diet, activities and social structure.

Investigators said they
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Contact: Amy Levey
alevey@gymr.com
202-745-5116
Digestive Disease Week
Source:Eurekalert

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