Study: Age and Fear, Factors for Low Cancer Screening Rates Among Latinas


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Compared to the general women population in the U.S. the rate of breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings are low among Latinas.

In a new study published in the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, researchers attribute the low rates among Latinas to age and fear of cancer diagnosis.

The research was conducted by analyzing and understanding the characteristics of women who did not follow up with phone calls and participation in Esperanza y Vida, a program aimed at addressing the low rates of breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings among Hispanic women.

“Participant loss to follow-up represents a potentially important source of bias in research studies,” says Deborah Erwin, PhD, Principal Investigator of the study and Director of the Office of Cancer Health Disparities Research at Roswell Park. “These findings are underscored by the fact that while there was a very high response rate for follow-up assessment two months after the program (77%) — especially for a group that includes many non-English-speaking, foreign-born women — unscreened women at that time could receive navigation assistance for screening, and the women lost to follow-up (23%) may remain unscreened without additional assistance.”

According to the data among women who did not follow up with Esperanza y Vida 59.6 percent were younger than 40 years old and 43.2 percent were afraid of their medical results.

“Knowing more about the reasons behind attrition characteristics provides insight for future studies,” adds Dr. Erwin. “These findings contribute to the literature regarding the recruitment and retention of minorities, specifically Latinas and newer immigrants, in research studies, as well as to how attrition and the ability to follow up with Latina women of varying ages are understood.”

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