Colorectal cancer screening numbers low for Hispanics with little access

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Limited access may explain low rates of colorectal cancer screening among Hispanics, according to a study published in Cancer (2010 Apr 12 [Epub ahead of print]).

To examine whether capacity for providing endoscopies in an area where an individual resides is linked to the use of colorectal cancer screening, investigators analyzed data on the use of colorectal cancer screening from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Additionally, data on colorectal cancer stage from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program and Medicare were used for analysis examining the stage or extent of patients' disease at diagnosis.

The research team, led by Jennifer Haas, MD, MSPH, of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, found that Hispanics are more likely to live in areas with limited availability of colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies for colorectal cancer screening, compared to people of other races. An average of 1,224, 1,569, and 1,628 procedures per 100,000 persons aged 50 years or older were reported for Hispanics, African-Americans, and Caucasians, respectively. As the number of endoscopies per 100,000 residents increased by 750, the odds of being screening increased by 4%.

“These findings suggest that interventions designed to reduce disparities in the use of colorectal cancer screening or stage at diagnosis should consider not only improving local capacity for screening but also address other characteristics of the areas that may limit the dissemination of information about the importance of colorectal cancer screening,” the authors concluded.

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