Factors related to counseling Asian patients by primary care physicians on cancer prevention and screening recommendations
Gold, Robert S.
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Primary care physicians are a critical source for communicating important cancer screening recommendations and play a significant role in increasing the cancer screening behavior of their patients. Asians, one of the fastest growing minority groups in the United States, experience disproportionate incidence and mortality rates of certain cancers, as compared to those of other racial/ethnic groups. Further, cancer deaths among Asians have increased at a rate faster than that of any other racial/ethnic group, and since 1980, cancer has been the leading cause of death among Asian women. This exploratory study assessed and evaluated the issues and barriers related to appropriate and effective screening recommendations for the early detection of cancer for Asians in the U.S. It also sought to identify the factors associated with the likelihood of physicians making appropriate and persuasive cancer screening recommendations and to assess primary care physicians' perceptions of cancer risk in Asians. In addition, this exploratory study examined whether the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) could be applied in a nontraditional manner to examine ELM components in relation to the occurrence of cancer screening recommendations. Primary care physicians practicing in New Jersey and New York City were mailed a 30-question (91-item) survey on medical practice characteristics, Asian patient communication, cancer screening guidelines, Asian cancer risk, and demographics. In total, 100 surveys were returned. Results showed that liver cancer and stomach cancer were perceived as higher cancer risks among Asians, as compared to those of the general population, and breast and prostate cancer were perceived as lower cancer risks. Significant relationships (p < .05) were found between the individual and aggregate components of the theoretical components and the occurrence of prevention screening recommendations made by physicians to their Asian patients. Physicians are integral public health liaisons who can be both influential and resourceful toward educating Asians about specific cancer awareness and screening information. The findings from this study provide pertinent information toward the development of interventions for physicians to recommend cancer screening in a way that maximizes the likelihood that Asian patients will follow up and be screened.