Screening Rates Go Down for American Indians and Alaska Natives

Colorectal cancer screening rates for colorectal cancer improved between 2000 and 2008 for white, black and Asian-Americans aged 50 and over—but barely improved for Hispanics and actually worsed for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The latest statistics, just reported by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on March 23, found that:

  • In 2008, among adults aged 50 or over, about 60 percent of whites reported ever having been screened (up from 51 percent in 2000);
  • About 55 percent of blacks and Asian Americans had been screened at least once (compared to 44 percent in 2000);
  • In the same age group, only 44 percent of Hispanics reported ever having been screened (slightly increased from just 35 percent in 2000), even though this population has the third-highest death rate from colorectal cancer;
  • Screening rates actually decreased among American Indians and Alaska Natives, to only 37 percent in 2008 (compared to 41 percent in 2000).

Among people without health insurance, screening rates were significantly lower in all ethnic groups:

  • Among both whites and blacks with no health insurance, the at-least-once screening rate was about 30 percent (increased barely from 26% in 2000);
  • Screening worsened to an abysmal 13 percent (down from 16 percent in 2000) among Hispanics with no health insurance.

In summary, even among those with insurance, only half—and often far fewer—people over age 50 are getting even one screening. Among the uninsured, screening is just not being done for a cancer that can be prevented or cured if caught early.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2010 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports

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