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Safety-Net Patients Unlikely to Undergo Colorectal Screens

Only 22 percent of older patients served by Texas system had screens over five years

FRIDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Among patients served by a safety-net health system, colorectal cancer screening rates are significantly lower than the national average, according to a study published in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Samir Gupta, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues analyzed data from the Tarrant County Hospital District John Peter Smith Hospital Health Network on 20,416 mostly African-American and Hispanic patients ages 54 to 75 years who were eligible for colorectal cancer screening.

Over a five-year period, the researchers found that only 22 percent of the patients had been screened for colorectal cancer compared to a national average screening rate of 61 percent. They also found that patients most likely to undergo screening were those with any insurance (odds ratio, 2.57) and those who had two or more outpatient visits (odds ratio, 3.53).

"Substantial resources for short-term and long-term population-based screening (including comparative effectiveness research into the best manner to provide screening to large populations, improving access to care, and promoting screening outside of traditional health visit settings) may be required to provide the immense potential benefit of colorectal cancer screening to individuals served by safety-net systems."

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