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Minorities Use Fewer Preventive Care Services Than Whites

Armen Hareyan's picture

Hispanics, among other ethnic and minority groups, are not utilizing preventive care to help prevent and detect conditions for early treatment, and socioeconomic reasons might not bethe underlying factor for the disparity, according to two recent studies, the Houston Chronicle reports. A study released earlier this month found that 100,000 lives could be saved annually in the U.S. if residents increased their use of preventive services. The study found that Hispanics, Asian-Americans and blacks used preventive services at the lowest rates.

A separate study still is in progress but is "hitting a brick wall" in recruiting Hispanic participants, according to Lovell Jones, director of the Center for Research on Minority Health at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The study involves six hospitals across the nation. Each hospital will represent a different minority group and will pair participants with"navigators" to help assess their health care needs and help them obtain preventive care. The study aims to determine whether use of preventive services will improve if Medicare beneficiaries receive guided assistance.

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M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is trying to recruit about 4,000 Hispanic beneficiaries, but after one year,researchers have been able to recruit only 59 people. The recruitment team says only about one in 10 Hispanics who were asked to join the study agree to participate.

Jones said that Hispanics commonly do not discuss cancer because they believe the more a person talks about it, the more likely they are to attract it, adding that they say"that if you go looking for it, you're likely to find it." Jones said the Hispanic "attitude often is, if something isn't hurting, it's not a problem."

To help recruit more Hispanic participants, the M.D.Anderson Cancer Center is airing public service announcements. Overall,the study hopes to recruit 13,000 minority Medicare beneficiaries,including Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, blacks and Hispanics (Ackerman, Houston Chronicle, 8/15).

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