Racial Disparities Among Colorectal-Cancer Screening

Minorities less likely to undergo colorectral-cancer screening; location shown to play role

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Minorities are much less likely to undergo colonoscopies than caucasians, according to a new study form the University of California at David Cancer Center.

Dr. Thomas Semrad and colleagues looked at rates of colorectal screenings for minorities and found location impacts whether or not adults are screened. Location did not appear to influence whether whites underwent screening.

The study followed 53,990 individuals on Medicare aged 69 to 79 in 11 regions of the United States and found in all locations except Hawaii (where Asian-Pacific Islanders had the highest screening rates), whites were more likely to get regular screenings, meaning they had undergone colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy within the previous five years or submitted a fecal-occult blood test in the past year.

Semrad said screening rates among Asians in Hawaii were highest of any group in the cancer registry area, including whites, which may stem from a prevalence of gastrointestinal cancers among Japanese people. (Japanese culture is prevalent in Hawaii.)

Semrad said other minorities may not get healthcare services in practices that provide colorectal cancer screenings or they may have less access to primary and/or specialized care.

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancers are the third most commonly diagnosed among men and women in the United States.

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Review Date: 
January 17, 2011
Last Updated:
January 18, 2011