Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States behind lung cancer. Nearly 50,000 Americans will die from colorectal cancer this year. Although scientists have differing opinions on the best method, the benefits of early screening are beyond debate — cancers caught early are easier to manage and treat.
Still, the nationwide rate of colorectal cancer screening is 61 percent, with much of the lack of screening concentrated among blacks, Hispanics and those without insurance. However, results of a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, showed that the screening rate was merely 22 percent among individuals served by a safety net health system in Texas.
"Of our patients who did get screened, they either had insurance or saw their doctor regularly. Once you controlled for those variables, the screening rate was essentially zero," said Samir Gupta, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Gupta and colleagues conducted their study using data from the Tarrant County Hospital District John Peter Smith Hospital Health Network, a safety net health system. The system serves 155,000 individuals a year in Tarrant County, Texas, a geographic area that includes Fort Worth, and is committed to delivering health care to the uninsured, Medicaid and other vulnerable patients.
Using their electronic administrative records, Gupta and colleagues identified 20,416 patients who were between 54 and 75 years old and were eligible for colorectal cancer screening. The median age of these patients was 60 years, and about 60 percent of them were women. Approximately 15 percent of the population lived below the poverty line and median household income was $35,419. The majority of the patients were either black or Hispanic; nearly 20 percent reported a primary language other than English.
Although 40 percent were classified as having health insurance, including those on Medicare and Medicaid, another 40 percent only had medical coverage through their connection to the safety net system; 20 percent had no insurance at all.
Over the previous five years, 22 percent of these patients were screened for colorectal cancer. Women were slightly more likely than men, and Hispanics were slightly more likely to be screened than whites, but the largest increase came when insurance and regular medical care were considered. Those with insurance were almost three times as likely to be screened, and those who saw the doctor regularly were nearly four times as likely to be screened.
Karen Glanz, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and an editorial board member of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, said this study documents an important issue in a specific population.
"The idea that colorectal cancer screening rates are too low is not a new idea, but this is one of the first to document it in a specific population," said Glanz. "Access to care clearly has consequences, and any talk of health care reform needs to address proven prevention measures like screening."
Gupta said a national model already exists for successful screening. Low income, uninsured and underserved women can get breast and cervical cancer screening through the Centers for Disease Control's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, but Gupta said such an approach is far too disease-specific.
"Theoretically, the same model could be applied to colorectal cancer, but do we want to keep passing legislation for programs that target specific types of cancer, or could we provide more broad access to health care so we can make a serious and coordinated effort at prevention?" said Gupta. "That's the question that needs answering."
Subscribe to the AACR News Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/aacr
Subscribe to the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention RSS Feed: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/rss/recent.xml
The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 28,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and nearly 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.
Jeremy Moore | EurekAlert!
Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News