Lower Reporting Of Family Cancer History Could Affect Cancer Screening

Armen Hareyan's picture

Immigrantsto the U.S. were aboutone-third less likely to report a family history of cancer than those born inthe U.S.,according to an analysis of 5,010 people who responded to the 2005 HealthInformation Trends Survey, HealthDay/WashingtonPostreports. The report -- by Heather Orom of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and colleagues and published in theJan. 15 issue of the journal Cancer -- prompted concern that thelower reporting rates might mean immigrants face inadequate cancer screeningand prevention.

According to the report, even as immigrants became more integrated into U.S. culture,their reporting of their family cancer history did not change. Researchers saidthat immigrants might not have easy access to family health history or might bein a culture not accustomed to openly discussing health issues such as cancer.


Researchers said that "some immigrants might not have a family history ofcancer even though they have a genetic predisposition for cancer, in part,because they are from countries in which people are more likely to die at arelatively young age of causes other than cancer and are not exposed to thesame degree of behavioral and environmental risk for the disease."

They added, "In addition, due to underdiagnosis of cancer in many immigrants' countries of origin, lack of awarenessof familial risk and communication barriers in families, foreign-born patientsmay not be aware of their true family history of cancer" (HealthDay/WashingtonPost, 12/10).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up foremail delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.