But despite being less likely to report having a usual source of health care, black and Hispanic women are as likely as whites -- or more so -- to receive cervical and breast cancer screening once other factors, such as a regular health-care provider, are considered, a UNC researcher says. For example, black women more often receive Pap smears than whites do.
"We used nationally representative data from the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which was constructed by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, for these analyses," said Dr. Giselle Corbie-Smith, assistant professor of both social medicine and medicine. "This involved about 10,000 families in 195 U.S. communities and about 24,000 civilians
"What we found surprised us a bit -- two-directional racial differences in receipt of preventive services. In other words, we found less racial variation between whites and nonwhites in female preventive services than we expected and that some earlier researchers reported."
Not surprisingly, having a usual source of care boosted the chances that any woman would get preventive services, she said. Other factors that affected the likelihood of receiving such screening included education levels, employment and insurance.
"Our study shows that we're doing a better job in targeting women, including blacks and Hispanics, for some preventive services," the physician said. "For the services we looked at the gap between whites and others was large but now it's closing and has disappeared in some cases.
However, this is just the first step.
We still need to work on eliminating the continuing differences in mortality from diseases like breast and cervical cancer between
Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill