Noting Group Differences

CURE, Summer 2007, Volume 6, Issue 4

Despite the gains noted in the overall number of Medicare patients undergoing colonoscopy, researchers continue to see differences in colorectal cancer screening rates among certain groups, particularly minorities.

Despite the gains noted in the overall number of Medicare patients undergoing colonoscopy, researchers continue to see differences in colorectal cancer screening rates among certain groups, particularly minorities.

One recent study, of almost 600,000 people covered by Medicare in three states, found that as a group, people of color were only about half as likely as whites to be screened for colorectal cancer. In addition, women were more likely than men to undergo some type of screening but less likely than men to have a colonoscopy.

The study, published in February in the Archives of Internal Medicine, also found that populations with higher income levels were more likely to undergo a colon screening test than those that were poorer. Yet even after adjusting for the income difference, the scientists, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, still found that nonwhites had lower screening rates.

That finding, wrote the researchers, “is worrisome because both colon cancer incidence and mortality are higher than in whites.”