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Study evaluates factors associated with racial disparities in colon cancer screening
Date:6/23/2008

Blacks and Hispanics appear less likely to undergo colorectal cancer screening than whites because of socioeconomic, health care access and language barriers, according to a report in the June 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, other factors may contribute to screening disparities experienced by Asians.

Colorectal cancer screening rates lag behind those for other cancer screening tests, according to background information in the article. In addition, marked disparities appear to exist between non-Hispanic whites and racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. "Such disparities in screening may contribute to the higher colorectal cancer incidence and mortality [death] rates observed in racial/ethnic minorities relative to non-Hispanic whites," the authors write.

Anthony F. Jerant, M.D., and colleagues at the University of California Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, analyzed data from two national surveys conducted between 2000 and 2005. A total of 22,973 adults age 50 and older answered questions about demographics, colorectal cancer screening behaviors and other social and health care factors.

Overall, 54.1 percent of the participants were screened for colorectal cancer using either colonoscopy or fecal occult blood testing (FOBT). Individuals in racial and ethnic minority groups were less likely than whites to be tested33.8 percent of Asians, 48.2 percent of blacks and 36.7 percent of Hispanics underwent a screening procedure, compared with 57.2 percent of whites.

After adjusting for other factors associated with screening behaviorincluding demographics, socioeconomic variables, language spoken at home, health care access and self-rated healthdisparities between blacks, Hispanics and whites disappeared, the authors note. "Beyond socioeconomic factors, which disproportionately affect minorities, these findings suggest the effect of access and, for Hispani
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Contact: Karen Finney
916-734-9064
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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