Preventive Cancer Screening in Asian Americans: Need for Community Outreach Programs

Document Type : Short Communications


Department of Surgery, Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck, NJ, USA.


Background: Asian Americans (AA) are the only racial group in the United States to experience cancer as the number one cause of mortality. Yet, Asian Americans have one of the lowest rates of cancer screenings of all minority groups in the United States. Methods: A cross-sectional and population-based study design was used. Cross-sectional data was collected from 1,650 AA participants via a survey given during two annual community health festivals in 2017 and 2018. Survey variables included sociodemographic measures, self-reported English-language proficiency level, access to primary care, attitudes on preventative cancer screening, current screening status and barriers to undergoing cancer screening. Results: Nearly 66% (n=1,081) reported not having a primary care physician (PCP). While the majority of the participants (n=1,510, 92%) stated that preventative cancer screenings were important, only a small portion (n=1,091, 16%) were up-to-date on cancer screening procedures. The biggest barriers to preventative cancer screening were: 1) Lack of insurance (n=840, 40%); 2) Cost of seeing a physician (n=517, 24%); and 3) Do not feel the need (n=299, 14%). Conclusions: To overcome the barriers we identified and effectively increase cancer screenings in Asian Americans, community outreach should be considered to provide linkage to primary care physicians and navigation to low-cost screening programs.


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