[Skip to Navigation]
May 23, 1994

Self-reported Use of Cancer Screening Tests Among Latinos and Anglos in a Prepaid Health Plan

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Medical Effectiveness Research Center for Diverse Populations, University of California—San Francisco (Drs Pérez-Stable, Otero-Sabogal, Sabogal, and McPhee) and Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, Oakland, Calif (Dr Hiatt).

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(10):1073-1081. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420100041007

Objective:  To evaluate self-reported use of cancer screening tests by Latino and Anglo prepaid health plan members, we conducted telephone interviews about the knowledge of, use of, and reason for Papanicolaou (Pap) smear, clinical breast examination, mammogram, rectal examination, fecal occult blood test, and sigmoidoscopy.

Methods:  Cross-sectional telephone survey of randomly selected Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program members in San Francisco and Alameda Counties, California. A total of 844 Latinos (432 men and 412 women) and 510 Anglos (208 men and 302 women), between 35 and 74 years of age, completed the interview.

Results:  Overall, 97.4% of Latinas reported having had at least one Pap smear compared with 99.7% of Anglo women; 90% in each group reported a Pap smear within 3 years. A clinical breast examination within 2 years was reported by 87% of Latina and 90% of Anglo women. Seventy-six percent of Latina and 85% of Anglo women aged 35 years or more reported having had at least one mammogram; and 65% of Latina and 75% of Anglo women reported a mammogram within 2 years. Among members 40 to 74 years of age, a lower proportion of Latinos compared with Anglos reported having had at least one digital rectal examination (67% vs 80%) and one fecal occult blood test (46% vs 54%); among those 50 to 74 years of age, fewer Latinos reported at least one sigmoidoscopy (29% vs 41%). After adjusting for age, education, employment, perceived health status, marital status, and county of residence, Latinos were significantly less likely to report having had at least one digital rectal examination (odds ratio; 0.60,95% confidence interval, 0.45,0.79), fecal occult blood test (odds ratio, 0.77; 95% confidence interval, 0.59-1.01), and sigmoidoscopy (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, 0.52,0.95). After adjusting for the same variables, Latinos were more likely than Anglos to claim forgetfulness/carelessness (75% vs 60%; odds ratio, 1.84; 95% confidence interval, 1.41-2.40) as a reason for not obtaining cancer screening tests.

Conclusion:  These data suggest that, within this prepaid health plan without direct financial barriers to cancer screening services, Latinos are less likely than Anglos to obtain selected recommended cancer screening tests.(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:1073-1081)

Add or change institution