Online Program

Cancer Screening Beliefs among Older Asian-American Immigrants in Chicago

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 2:50 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.

Michael Quinn, PhD, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Helen Lam, PhD, RN, UCCCC Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Disparities, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Reena Patel, MPH, Asian Health Coalition, Chicago, IL
Edwin Chandrasekar, MPPM, Asian Health Coalition, Chicago, IL
Sharon Song, PhD, Asian Health Coalition, Chicago, IL
Karen Kim, MD, MS, Director, UCCCC Office of Community Engagement and Cancer Disparities, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

While colorectal cancer (CRC) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, Asian Americans have lower rates of preventive CRC screening than do other minority groups.  Little is known about factors that contribute to this disparity. 


The purpose of this focus group study was to examine beliefs regarding CRC screening among six Asian-American immigrant groups – Chinese, Korean, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Filipino – to inform community-based CRC educational efforts.


A series of focus groups was conducted by trained, bi-lingual staff from community-based organizations (CBOs) serving Asian immigrant groups.  The focus group discussion guide, developed collaboratively by CBO and research staff, was designed to elicit awareness of CRC risk, perceived screening benefits and costs, access, and informational influences.  Focus groups were conducted at CBOs in residents’ native languages, and were audio-taped, transcribed, translated and back-translated.  Data analysis used a modified template approach, with transcripts independently coded and discussed to agreement. 


A convenience sample of 66 Asian-American immigrants participated in seven focus groups.   Most (66%) participants were female, average age was 54.7 years.  All participants were born in Asia and had been in the US for 1 to 38 years (mean = 21 years).  Most (62%) completed less than 12 years of education.  Although differences were noted across ethnic groups, many respondents were unaware of CRC risk, screening benefits, or screening access.  Many attributed CRC to pollution in their home countries, stress of immigrant life, or diet.  Respondents from countries with more advanced healthcare systems were more knowledgeable of screening options.  Across groups, the need for more prevention information was reported, but preferred information source varied by ethnic group.


Focus groups identified Asian-American immigrants’ desire for CRC risk and screening access information.  Observed differences in ethnic-specific beliefs and preferred information sources will assist in tailoring community education efforts.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify colorectal cancer screening and prevention beliefs of older Asian-American immigrants. Compare colorectal cancer screening and prevention beliefs across different Asian-American immigrant communities. Describe relevance of colorectal cancer screening and prevention beliefs to development of community-based educational interventions.

Keyword(s): Cancer Prevention and Screening, Asian Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Over the past 25 years, I have served as Investigator or Co-Investigator for several community-based health education interventions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.