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Culturally tailored programs can boost colonoscopy rates among Hispanic adults

A new study in the journal Cancer suggests culturally tailored programs might help raise colonoscopy rates among Hispanic adults.

That group generally has low screening rates, even though colorectal cancer ranks as its second leading cause of cancer deaths.

Around one-third of eligible adults in the U.S. have not gotten a colonoscopy.

Among Hispanic adults, that number approaches one-half, driven by factors like cultural beliefs, language barriers, and limits imposed by work, insurance and transportation.

So researchers enrolled nearly 700 Spanish-speaking adults in Providence, Rhode Island, in a 28-month program that included outreach and guidance by a Spanish-speaking health navigator of Hispanic origin.

More than two-fifths of Providence's nearly 191,000 residents identifies as Hispanic or Latino, and the city's poverty rate is more than double the national average.

The result: 85% got colonoscopies, and 90% said they wouldn't have done so without the program.

Nicholas Gerbis joined KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk in 2016. A longtime science, health and technology journalist and editor, his extensive background in related nonprofit and science communications inform his reporting on Earth and space sciences, neuroscience and behavioral health, and bioscience/biotechnology.Apart from travel and three years in Delaware spent earning his master’s degree in physical geography (climatology), Gerbis has spent most of his life in Arizona. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Arizona State University’s Cronkite School and a bachelor’s degree in geography (climatology/meteorology), also from ASU.Gerbis briefly “retired in reverse” and moved from Arizona to Wisconsin, where he taught science history and science-fiction film courses at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is glad to be back in the Valley and enjoys contributing to KJZZ’s Untold Arizona series.During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gerbis focused almost solely on coronavirus-related stories and analysis. In addition to reporting on the course of the disease and related research, he delved into deeper questions, such as the impact of shutdowns on science and medicine, the roots of vaccine reluctance and the policies that exacerbated the virus’s impact, particularly on vulnerable populations.