The contributions of demographic, socioeconomic, access, language, and nativity factors to racial/ethnic colorectal cancer (CRC) screening disparities are uncertain.
Using linked data from 22 973 respondents to the 2001-2005 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the 2000-2004 National Health Interview Survey, we modeled disparities in CRC screening (fecal occult blood testing [FOBT], endoscopy, and combined FOBT and endoscopy) between non-Hispanic whites and Asians, blacks, and Hispanics, sequentially adjusting for demographics, socioeconomic status, clinical and access variables, and race/ethnicity–related variables (language spoken at home and nativity).
With demographic adjustment, minorities reported less CRC screening (all measures) than non-Hispanic whites. Disparities were largest for combined screening in Asians (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.40; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.32-0.49) and Hispanics (AOR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.39-0.48) and for endoscopic screening in Asians (AOR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.33-0.50) and Hispanics (AOR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.38-0.48). With full adjustment, all Hispanic/non-Hispanic white disparities and black/non-Hispanic white FOBT disparities were eliminated, whereas Asian/non-Hispanic white disparities remained significant (FOBT: AOR, 0.72 [95% CI, 0.52-1.00]; endoscopic screening: AOR, 0.63 [95% CI, 0.49-0.81]; and combined screening: AOR, 0.66 [95% CI, 0.52-0.84]).
Determinants of racial/ethnic CRC screening disparities vary among minority groups, suggesting the need for different interventions to mitigate those disparities. Whereas socioeconomic, access, and language barriers seem to drive the CRC screening disparities experienced by blacks and Hispanics, additional factors may exacerbate the disparities experienced by Asians.