Differences in cancer screening rates reported

Use of potentially life-saving cancer screening procedures among California adults varies dramatically depending on race and ethnicity, according to a new study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

The differences -- attributed to cultural, education, language and other barriers -- persist even when comparing like income levels or health insurance status across racial and ethnic groups. Lower screening rates reduce the odds of early detection for hundreds of thousands of Californians and survival rates for those who contract cancer.

The report was based on data from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS 2001) and funded by The California Endowment. Researchers examined screening rates for cervical, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer among whites, Latinos, Asians, blacks, American Indian/Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders.

"Our findings underscore the reality that racial and ethnic disparities in cancer screening and other important health services can be found even within similar socioeconomic groups, such as low-income families and Medi-Cal beneficiaries," said author Ninez A. Ponce, a center researcher and assistant professor of health services at the UCLA School of Public Health, and a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA.

"Clearly, targeting investment wisely toward the specific racial and ethnic groups most at risk remains a necessary step to save lives in California and reduce the burden of late-stage cancer care on the state's health care system," said author Susan H. Babey, a researcher at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

"Improving the health of California's diverse communities is dependent on this critical information that helps identify the gaps that exist in health care and provides health leaders and community organizations with the information to improve access to preventive care for ethnic and racial minorities," said Alicia L

Contact: Dan Page
University of California - Los Angeles

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