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Race Alone Does Not Explain Disparities in Cancer Screening

Other factors like physical disability and insurance coverage also play a role in explaining disparities

MONDAY, Sept. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Race alone does not explain disparities in cancer screening among women, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society, held from Sept. 22 to 25 in Washington, D.C.

Holly N. Thomas, M.D., and Rebecca C. Thurston, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, examined differences in receipt of cancer screening by race. Interviews were conducted (2015 and 2016) with 866 women (mean age, 43.5 years; 12 percent White, 36 percent Black, and 49 percent Hispanic) from underserved areas of Chicago.

The researchers found that of the women older than 50 years, only 58 percent were up to date on colon cancer screening, with Black women (odds ratio [OR], 0.61; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.28 to 1.35), Hispanic women (OR, 0.38; 95 percent CI, 0.17 to 0.84), and women of other races/ethnicities (OR, 0.65; 95 percent CI, 0.16 to 2.70) less likely to have up-to-date screening versus White women. This association was not significant in an adjusted analysis. Eight in 10 women aged 50 to 75 years reported having received a mammogram within the previous two years, with no significant association observed by race. However, Black women were more likely to have received a mammogram versus White women (OR, 4.91; 95 percent CI, 1.46 to 16.51; P = 0.010). For cervical cancer screening, 83 percent of women aged 21 to 65 years reported having cervical cancer screening in the previous five years, with no differences observed by race. Other factors associated with up-to-date cancer screenings included physical disability, diabetes diagnosis, higher trust in health care practitioners, and health insurance.

“It is important for health care professionals to understand the factors that may interfere with their patients’ abilities and willingness to undergo recommended cancer screenings, so they need to have meaningful conversations that are tailored to specific patient situations,” Stephanie Faubion, M.D., medical director of the North American Menopause Society, said in a statement.

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