When women come in for a mammography, that might be an excellent chance to discuss—and schedule—a screening colonoscopy. In particular, this could help increase colorectal cancer screening among minority women, according to a study reported online by the journal Cancer.
For two years between 2003 and 2005, researchers offered colonoscopies to more than 2,600 women who came to the Breast Examination Center of Harlem—an outreach program serving a mostly black and Hispanic community. All the women were over age 50 with no history of either colorectal cancer or screening.
More than 3 in 4 of the women refused to join the study; however most said they were interested in colorectal cancer screening: Study authors noted that at least the offer generated interested, and they noted that the most significant barrier to colorectal cancer screening appeared to be lack of medical insurance.
Of the 337 women who did enroll in the study, 55% actually had the colonoscopy, and of those women, 15 percent (49 women) were found to have cancerous polyps.
Study leader Dr. Moshe Shike also noted that the women could be referred, medically screened, and prepared for colonoscopy by nurses. Not having to see a doctor first, he said, “could greatly facilitate colon cancer screening, particularly in underserved communities.”
Source: Cancer press release, Oct. 25, 2010