Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 156–166 | Cite as

Barriers to colorectal cancer screening in Latino and Vietnamese Americans

Compared with non-Latino white Americans
  • Judith M. E. Walsh
  • Celia P. Kaplan
  • Bang Nguyen
  • Ginny Gildengorin
  • Stephen J. McPhee
  • Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable
Original Articles


OBJECTIVE: To identify current colorectal cancer (CRC) screening practices and barriers to screening in the Latino, Vietnamese, and non-Latino white populations.

METHODS: We conducted a telephone survey of Latino, non-Latino white, and Vietnamese individuals living in San Jose, California. We asked about demographics, CRC screening practices, intentions to be screened, and barriers and facilitators to screening.

RESULTS: Seven hundred and seventy-five individuals (40% white, 29.2% Latino, and 30.8% Vietnamese) completed the survey (Response Rate 50%). Overall, 23% of respondents reported receipt of fecal occult blood test (FOBT) in the past year, 28% reported sigmoidoscopy (SIG) in the past 5 years, and 27% reported colonoscopy (COL) in the past 10 years. Screening rates were generally lower in Latinos and Vietnamese. Vietnamese were less likely than whites to have had SIG in the past 5 years (odds ratio [OR], 0.26; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.09 to 0.72), but ethnicity was not an independent predictor of FOBT or COL. Only 22% of Vietnamese would find endoscopic tests uncomfortable compared with 79% of whites (P<.05). While 21% of Latinos would find performing an FOBT embarrassing, only 8% of whites and 3% of Vietnamese felt this way (P<.05). Vietnamese were more likely than whites to plan to have SIG in the next 5 years (OR, 2.24; 95% CI, 1.15 to 4.38), but ethnicity was not associated with planning to have FOBT or COL.

CONCLUSIONS: Rates of CRC screening are lower in ethnic minority populations than in whites. Differences in attitudes and perceived barriers suggest that culturally tailored interventions to increase CRC screening will be useful in these populations

Key words

colorectal cancer screening prevention 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith M. E. Walsh
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Celia P. Kaplan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bang Nguyen
    • 4
  • Ginny Gildengorin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Stephen J. McPhee
    • 1
  • Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan Francisco
  2. 2.Medical Effectiveness Research Center for Diverse PopulationsSan Francisco
  3. 3.Center for Aging in Diverse CommunitiesSan Francisco
  4. 4.Northern California Cancer CenterUnion City

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