October 15, 2013

The Prevention Research Center received a Special Interest Projects Competitive Supplement grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a study to understand colorectal cancer screening (CRC) behaviors among Chinese- and Korean- Americans and to develop strategies to increase CRC screening in these populations.
An increasing number of Americans are getting screened for colorectal cancer, and as a result, the number of deaths caused by the disease has been on the decline. However, Chinese and Korean Americans stand as outliers to both trends. Dr. Sunmin Lee, associate professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics, is leading the project with Dr. Cheryl L. Holt, associate professor in the department of behavioral and community health, as co-principal investigator, to learn more about the cause.
Cancer stands as the leading cause of death among Asian American and Pacific Islanders, with colorectal cancer ranking as the cancer type with the third highest mortality rate. But recent data from the National Health Interview Survey shows that Asian Americans have significantly lower colorectal cancer screening rates than Whites and African Americans. Other studies have indicated that Koreans have the lowest screening rates among various Asian ethnic groups, and that rate is continuing to decline.
Dr. Lee and Dr. Holt will study colorectal cancer screening behaviors among Chinese and Korean Americans in an effort to understand more about barriers to and facilitators of screenings and to determine ways to increase screening rates among these populations. The study will attempt to address a gap in existing literature on the topic, which has, for the most part, relied upon close-ended surveys to acquire data. Dr. Lee and Dr. Holt will instead use a mixed methods approach to focus on factors underlying screening decisions, such as knowledge and attitudes about risk factors, prevention, treatment, and screening guidelines, access to care, personal and family history, social support and social networks, and linguistic, and acculturation factors.

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Sunmin Lee, Cheryl L. Knott