DAVIS, Calif., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. colorectal cancer screenings among patients on Medicare have increased, but whites are screened more frequently than others, researchers said.
Researchers at University of California, Davis, and the University of Washington said that since Medicare covers all available colorectal cancer screening procedures, the research suggests obstacles other than insurance coverage are responsible for the disparities.
"The issue clearly is not lack of access to health insurance. Socioeconomic, cultural and language barriers are all possibilities, but understanding which of these barriers is relevant for which group is essential to narrowing the gaps," lead author Joshua Fenton of the University of California Medical System in Davis said in a statement.
The researchers focused their analysis on a representative sample of nearly half a million patients age 70-79 from four racial and ethnic groups -- whites, blacks, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics.
The data were compiled from a National Cancer Institute database that links Medicare claims with clinical information on cancer patients throughout the United States.
The findings are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.