Colorectal Screening Strategy for Minority Women Tested

CRC screening offer at mammography visit is effective, but lack of insurance remains a barrier
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Offering colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) to low-income minority women during mammography visits can be an effective way to increase screening in this population, but a lack of medical insurance remains an important barrier for many women, according to a study published online Oct. 25 in Cancer.

Moshe Shike, M.D., of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues offered screening to 2,616 women who came to the Breast Examination Center of Harlem, the hospital's community outreach program serving the mostly black and Hispanic community in Harlem. Eligibility criteria included being at least 50 years of age without a history of CRC or screening within the past 10 years. The researchers assessed the interest of the women and the barriers to accepting the offer.

The researchers found that, overall, 2,005 eligible women (77 percent) who received the offer refused to participate in the study, and 611 (23 percent) agreed and were enrolled. There was high interest in screening even among those who declined to participate. Of those enrolled, 337 (55 percent) went on to have the colonoscopy, with 49 women (15 percent of those screened) found to have adenomatous polyps. The biggest barrier to screening was a lack of health insurance.

"Offering CRCS to minority women at the time of mammography and without a physician's referral is an effective way to expand screening. Screening colonoscopy findings are similar to those in the general population. Alternatives to traditional medical insurance are needed for the uninsured," the authors write.

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