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Perceived Discrimination Affects Cancer Screening

Women perceiving medical discrimination roughly half as likely to be screened for breast cancer

FRIDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- People who felt they'd been discriminated against in a medical setting due to their racial or ethnic background were less likely to be screened for certain cancers, according to an article published online Aug. 6 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

LaVera M. Crawley, M.D., Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and colleagues analyzed data from 11,245 participants in two California Health Interview Surveys. The researchers were interested in colorectal cancer screening in those aged 50 to 75, and breast cancer screening in women aged 40 to 75.

Women who perceived medical discrimination were less likely to be screened for colorectal and breast cancer (odds ratios 0.66 and 0.52, respectively), the researchers report. Men who perceived medical discrimination weren't less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer, unless they also reported having a usual source of health care (OR, 0.30), the report indicates.

"Why would having a usual source of care increase the odds that discrimination negatively affects screening among men? One possible explanation is that having a usual source of care may increase exposure to situations unique for men that are subsequently perceived to be discriminatory," the authors write. "In situations where one group (e.g., African American men) may be subject to more gender bias (e.g., stereotyped as violent), the result may be more discrimination toward or greater perception of racial discrimination by those men compared with women in similar situations."

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