Racial Disparities Exist in Colorectal Cancer Screening

Different factors at play in under-representation of various minority racial groups

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- There are racial disparities in the rate of colorectal cancer screening between different ethnic groups, and interventions are required to mitigate these inequalities, researchers report in the June 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Anthony F. Jerant, M.D., of the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento, Calif., and colleagues analyzed data from 22,973 participants in the 2001-2005 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, to ascertain racial disparities in uptake of fecal occult blood testing, endoscopy, and both types of colorectal screening tests.

Compared with non-Hispanic whites, all racial minorities had lower rates of all types of colorectal cancer screening, the investigators found. Asians and Hispanics had the lowest rates of combined screening and endoscopic screening. After adjusting for socioeconomic barriers, access and language barriers, there were no disparities between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, or between blacks and non-Hispanic whites, but disparities between Asians and non-Hispanic whites prevailed.

"The underlying determinants of racial/ethnic disparities in colorectal cancer screening seem to differ in each minority group, in turn implying the need for different strategies to mitigate the colorectal cancer screening disparities," the authors write. "There is evidence that current racial/ethnic colorectal cancer screening disparities are larger for endoscopic screening than for fecal occult blood testing, suggesting a technology diffusion gap that could contribute to widening disparities across time, and for women relative to men."

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