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Racial Gap Persists in Maryland Colorectal Screening

More blacks and whites than people of other racial groups get tested

FRIDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Maryland has the thirteenth highest rate of colorectal cancer mortality in the United States, and while screening rates have improved, there are still significant racial disparities, researchers report in the Sept. 14 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The state's goals, set out in the Maryland Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan, include reducing the number of people who have never undergone screening for colorectal cancer from the 2002 figure of 25.9 percent to a target 15 percent or less.

By 2006, there had been a 6.1 percent drop in the number of Maryland residents aged 50 and above who had never been tested for colorectal cancer, and a 13.9 percent increase in screening by colonoscopy. However, the prevalence of testing was lower among people who were neither black nor white. People without health insurance and those who had not had a medical checkup within the previous two years were also under-represented.

"Although overall increases in colorectal cancer testing reflect substantial progress in Maryland, additional measures are needed to increase colorectal cancer testing among racial minority groups and the medically underserved," the authors write.

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