Colorectal Cancer Screening Lagging Among Rural Women

Women who live in urban and rural areas get screened for breast cancer at similar rates, but rural women get screened for colorectal cancer at significantly lower rates than their urban counterparts, new research reveals.

The disparity may stem from a lack of access to colorectal screening in rural areas, the researchers believe. But income and insurance also may be factors: Women from families that earn $50,000 or more were much more likely to get screened for colorectal cancer than women from families with incomes below $20,000. There was no such financial correlation for breast cancer screening.

The researchers say new efforts are needed to increase colorectal cancer screenings for rural residents.

“Using survey data from 11 states in the United States, we were able to demonstrate that rural-dwelling women had lower rates of adherence to colorectal cancer screening compared with women living in urban areas. However, both groups of women had similar rates of adherence to breast cancer screening,” said researcher Rajesh Balkrishnan, PhD, of the School of Medicine and UVA Cancer Center. “These findings suggest that colorectal cancer screening may not be as available in rural areas as breast cancer screening.” Read more >>