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Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Date:2/6/2009

Study finds levels of skepticism correlate with lower cancer screening rates

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Minority women, especially black women, have more distrust of the medical system, which leads to delays in screening for breast cancer, new research shows.

Almost half of all women agreed that they had "sometimes been deceived or misled by health-care organizations." Eighteen percent strongly agreed with the statement.

On another gauge of mistrust, 39 percent of black women agreed that "health-care organizations don't always keep your information totally private," versus 15 percent of Latinas and 9 percent of Arab-American women.

More mistrust corresponded with lower screening rates.

"While insurance obviously plays a large role in screening [94 percent of blacks had insurance, 45 percent of Latinas and 43 percent of Arab-American women], we can't ignore that medical mistrust plays a large role. We need to think about tailoring our interventions," said study author Karen Patricia Williams, an assistant professor at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine in Lansing.

The study was presented Thursday at the American Association for Cancer Research's Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, in Carefree, Ariz.

It was one of four studies that were highlighted in a Thursday news conference, at which Williams and others spoke.

A second study found troubling misunderstandings among Hispanics about the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted and can cause cervical cancer.

In general, many of the men and women interviewed (who were HPV-negative), did not know much about HPV; many confused this virus with HIV.

"There was a lot of fatalism among women when told about the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer," added study author Maria E. Fernandez, an assistant professor of health promotion and behavior
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