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Many Hispanics Lack Access to Colon Cancer Screening

They typically live in areas where it's tougher to get colonoscopies, study finds

MONDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Colorectal cancer screening tests, such as colonoscopies, are harder to find in areas of the United States with large Hispanic populations, new research suggests.

The finding could help explain why Hispanics are less likely to get screened than non-Hispanic whites, the study authors said.

A group led by Dr. Jennifer Haas of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston examined statistics on colorectal screening taken from a national health survey, Medicare data and a cancer monitoring program.

The researchers found that Hispanics typically lived in counties with less access to the screening tests. Residents were more likely to be screened if the tests were more available in their regions.

The findings suggest "that interventions designed to reduce disparities in the use of colorectal cancer screening or stage at diagnosis should consider not only improving local capacity for screening but also address other characteristics of the areas that may limit the dissemination of information about the importance of colorectal cancer screening," the study authors wrote.

The report is published online April 12 in the journal Cancer.

An estimated one in 19 people will develop colorectal cancer in their lives.

More information

There's more on colon cancer screening at the American Cancer Society.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Cancer Society, news release, April 12, 2010

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