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High-Risk Blacks Less Likely to Undergo Colonoscopy

Among those with family history of colon cancer, black patients only half as likely to be screened as white patients

MONDAY, March 24 (HealthDay News) -- Among those with a family history of colon cancer, black patients are significantly less likely than white patients to undergo colonoscopy screening, according to research published in the March 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Harvey J. Murff, M.D., of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues analyzed baseline data on 41,830 adults who were enrolled in the Southern Community Cohort Study.

The researchers found that black participants with multiple affected first-degree relatives or relatives diagnosed before age 50 years were significantly less likely than their white counterparts to report having a colonoscopy during the past five years (27.3 percent versus 43.1 percent). After adjusting for age, sex, educational status, income, insurance status, total number of affected and unaffected first-degree relatives, and time since last medical visit, they also found that blacks in this high-risk group were only half as likely as their white counterparts to have undergone recommended screening (odds ratio 0.51).

"African Americans with family histories of colon cancer who had not undergone endoscopy procedures were more likely to report a lack of health care provider recommendations as a reason for not undergoing screening," the authors conclude. "Physicians and other health care providers need to elicit family history information for all patients and ensure that African Americans with affected relatives appropriately receive colon cancer screening."

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