Study: Hispanics Most Likely to Avoid Cancer Screening

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TAMPA, Fla.—When researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues conducted a random telephone survey among blacks, whites and Hispanics, they found that Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to report that fear of being used as a “guinea pig" and lack of trust in medical professionals contribute in being unwilling to participate in cancer screenings. The researchers concluded that healthcare providers need to do a better job of instilling trust and dispelling certain fears, particularly among Hispanics, to improve cancer screening rates for lower-income minorities.

The study appeared in a supplement in the November issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. The survey included people in New York, Baltimore and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“The provider-patient relationship is an important factor in patients adhering to cancer screening recommendations," said study senior author B. Lee Green, PhD, senior member of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Program at Moffitt. “This study found differences between sociodemographic groups in levels of fear and mistrust with regard to the provider-patient relationships and communications that may contribute to unwillingness to participate in cancer screenings."

According to the authors, the reasons for disparities in cancer screening behavior have been less apparent for minorities than for others, and few studies have aimed at understanding why.

The researchers found that when compared to whites, Hispanics were nearly twice as likely to report a fear of being a guinea pig, and a lack of trust in health care professionals would contribute to unwillingness to participate in cancer screenings. Noncollege-educated individuals with less than a high school education or diploma were found to be twice as likely as college graduates to fear embarrassment during screening.

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