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Colorectal Cancer Screening Lacking Among At-Risk Blacks

Fewer blacks than whites get risk-appropriate colorectal cancer screening

WEDNESDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Black patients with a family history of colorectal cancer have lower rates of risk-appropriate colorectal cancer screening than either blacks at average risk or whites at increased risk, according to the results of a study published in the July 15 issue of the journal Cancer.

Kathleen A. Griffith, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a secondary analysis of 2002 Maryland Cancer Survey data involving 580 black residents. Of these, 88 had a family history of colorectal cancer. The researchers looked at predictors of risk-appropriate, timely colorectal cancer screening in blacks with family histories of the disease and those without such histories.

The investigators found that in both groups -- those with a family history and those without -- individuals who engaged in moderate to vigorous activity and had a history of prostate-specific antigen screening were more likely to undergo recommended colorectal cancer screening. After adjusting for age, education and insurance coverage, however, the researchers found that blacks with a family history were less likely to receive screening than blacks without a family history and than their white counterparts.

"Regardless of family history, health care provider recommendation and activity level were important predictors of screening," the authors write. "This study suggests that African Americans would benefit from a primary care approach that evaluates their risk factors for colorectal cancer and provides corresponding recommendations for appropriate screening tests."

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