-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Aug. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Colon cancer screening
rates for black patients in a Veterans Affairs health care system
in California are much lower compared to other races, even though
all patients have similar access to care, according to a new
The study also found that having a primary care health provider
greatly increased the likelihood that patients would be screened
for colon cancer.
"Notably, individuals with a primary care visit within two years of CRC [colorectal cancer] screening eligibility were nearly four times more likely to have had at least one CRC screening test," lead author Dr. Fola May, of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, said in a news release from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
May and her colleagues looked at more than 350 people who used
the Veterans Affairs (VA) Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
That particular VA Healthcare system includes a dozen sites in
Southern California. All of those included in the study were
eligible for colon cancer screening based on age -- over 45 for
blacks and over 50 for non-blacks.
The overall rate of colon cancer screening using any method was
50 percent, but the rate among blacks was 42 percent compared with
58 percent for non-blacks. The use of colonoscopy screening was
also lower among blacks, 11 percent versus 23 percent.
Other factors associated with lower colon cancer screening rates
included: homelessness, taking more prescription drugs, and not
seeing a primary care provider within two years of screening
eligibility, according to the study.
Results of the study are in the August issue of the journal
GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
The findings show the need to boost efforts to eliminate
barriers to colon cancer screening among blacks, the researchers
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related
deaths in the United States. Blacks have the highest incidence of
colon cancer and are most likely to die from the disease.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
colorectal cancer screening.
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