Studies Look at Colonoscopy Rates Among Minorities, Use of Patient Navigators
The following summarizes coverage of recent studies related to minorities and colon cancer.
- Screenings: People without health insurance, low-income individuals and minorities are less likely than whites to be screened for colon cancer, according to a study recently published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports. Djenaba Joseph, medical officer in the CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, led the study (Posey, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 4/1). For the study, researchers compared data from the 2002, 2004, and 2006 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys, which included data on Washington, D.C., and all 50 states except Hawaii in 2004 (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 3/14). Researchers found that colon cancer screenings for individuals over age 50 are increasing overall. By state, Mississippi ranks last in the number of people being screened, according to Charles Hall, a gastroenterologist at Mississippi-based Jackson Medical Clinic (Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 4/1). The report recommends implementation of specific measures to address the disparities (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 3/14).
The report is available online.
- Patient Navigators: Patient intervention programs that include "navigators" who guide patients through preparations for colon cancer screenings and offer encouragement help increase screening rates among low-income minorities seeking care at urban facilities, according to two separate reports published in the current issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports. For the first study, researchers for six months examined endoscopy laboratory scheduling and procedure logs from Denver Health Medical Center, a safety-net health care system. Such safety-net systems typically have a large portion of low-income minority patients who have "very high" no-show rates for colonoscopies, according to the study. Researchers found that 41.7% of the 817 people scheduled for outpatient colonoscopies did not show up for their appointments and that 30.2% of people who went to their appointments did not accurately prepare for the examination. A second study by researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine assigned patient navigators to 532 colonoscopy patients. The study found that 67% of patients showed up for their appointments and that only 5% were inadequately prepared for the examination. In addition, the no-show rate for urban minorities dropped from 40% prior to the patient navigator program to 9.8% with the navigators (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 4/4).
An abstract of the first study is available online. An abstract of the second study also is available online.
This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.