Background: Little is known about cancer-screening practices of various Asian subgroups, and even less is known about factors that may predict screening in these populations.
Design: Two independent surveys were conducted with 218 Filipino and 229 Korean female immigrants, aged 50 years and older, residing in Los Angeles.
Results: In these convenience samples, 48% of Filipino and 41% of Korean women reported receipt of a Pap smear within the past 2 years; 41% of Filipino and 25% of Korean women reported receipt of a mammogram and a clinical breast exam within the past 2 years; and 25% of Filipino and 38% of Korean women reported colorectal cancer screening (blood stool test within the past 12 months or sigmoidoscopy/colonoscopy within the past 5 years). Only 14% of Filipino and 10% of Korean women were adherent to cancer-screening guidelines for all three sites. These differences in screening rates were statistically significant in multivariate analyses of the combined sample, controlling for all demographic characteristics, including age, percent of lifetime in the United States, education, marital status, health insurance, employment, and ethnicity. The two variables that were most consistently independently associated with adherence to cancer screening in both samples were higher percentage of lifetime spent in the United States and ever having had a checkup when no symptoms were present.
Conclusions: These two variables-percent of lifetime in the United States and ever having had a checkup when no symptoms were present-can alert a physician that cancer-screening tests may be overdue among Korean and Filipino immigrants in the United States. Future research should identify predictors of cancer screening among other Asian immigrant groups and U.S.-born Asian women to assist in targeting intervention efforts.