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Cancer Screening among Racial/Ethnic and Insurance Groups in the United States: A Comparison of Disparities in 2000 and 2008


Using the National Health Interview Survey, we examined associations among race/ ethnicity, insurance coverage, and cancer screening, and assessed changes in the magnitude of disparities over the past decade. Outcomes included recent cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer screening. Rates of colorectal screening increased for all racial/ethnic groups and some insurance groups from 2000 to 2008. However, rates of Pap tests and mammograms remained stagnant, and even decreased for certain groups. Some Hispanic-White and Asian-White disparities in cancer screening were reduced or eliminated over this time period. However, in 2008 Asians continued to have lower odds of Pap tests and Hispanics lower odds of colorectal cancer screening, even after accounting for potential confounders. There were no significant changes in Black-White disparities. The uninsured continued to be at a disadvantage for all three types of cancer screening, relative to the privately insured, as were publicly insured individuals with respect to colorectal cancer screening.