Receipt of Cancer Screening Services: Surprising Results for Some Rural Minorities

Authors

  • Kevin J. Bennett PhD,

    1. University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, Columbia, South Carolina
    2. University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, South Carolina Rural Health Research Center, Columbia, South Carolina
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  • Janice C. Probst PhD,

    1. University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, South Carolina Rural Health Research Center, Columbia, South Carolina
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  • Jessica D. Bellinger PhD

    1. University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, South Carolina Rural Health Research Center, Columbia, South Carolina
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  • This study was supported by funding under Grant Award No 6 U1C RH 03711-04-01 with the federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration. The authors of this manuscript assert no conflicts of interest. For further information, contact: Kevin J. Bennett, PhD, 3209 Colonial Drive, Columbia, SC 29203; e-mail kevin.bennett@sc.edu.

Abstract

Background: Evidence suggests that rural minority populations experience disparities in cancer screening, treatment, and outcomes. It is unknown how race/ethnicity and rurality intersect in these disparities. The purpose of this analysis is to examine the cancer screening rates among minorities in rural areas.

Methods: We utilized the 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to examine rates of screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. Bivariate analysis estimated screening rates by rurality and sociodemographics. Multivariate analysis estimated the factors that contributed to the odds of screening.

Results: Rural residents were less likely to obtain screenings than urban residents. African Americans were more likely to be screened than whites or Hispanics. Race/ethnicity and rurality interacted, showing that African American women continued to be more likely than whites to be screened for breast or cervical cancer, but the odds decreased with rurality.

Conclusions: This analysis confirmed previous research which found that rural residents were less likely to obtain cancer screenings than other residents. We further found that the pattern of disparity differed according to race/ethnicity, with African Americans having favorable odds of receipt of service regardless of rurality. These results have the potential to create better targeted interventions to those groups that continue to be underserved.

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