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Diagnostic testing less common in Mexican-Americans

Category: General Health

Some Latinos may be unaware of the medical benefits offered by diagnostic testing for colorectal cancer because of language barriers, new research indicates.

According to a study by faculty at San Diego State University, which was published in the journal Ethnicity & Disease, approximately two thirds of Mexican-Americans living in California needed another person to help them talk to doctors, Exmax Health reports.

The figure, based on a telephone survey of about 17,000 older Californians, represents a population that is three times more likely to need assistance conversing with physicians than the non-Latinos surveyed.

In the same survey, the researchers found that 40 percent of Mexican-Americans have never received one of the two most common screening tests for colorectal cancer, compared to less than 25 percent of non-Latinos.

"The pipeline for Hispanics to increase the number of physicians is not ready to match the demand of the fast-growing Hispanic population now or in the near future," said Luisa Borrell, an associate professor in the public health graduate program at Lehman College in New York.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that the prevalence of cancer in the U.S. Hispanic population will climb to about 60 million cases by 2020.

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