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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 was a senior field correspondent for KJZZ from 2016 to 2024.