Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States and the third most commonly diagnosed cancer among Latinos. While Latinos represent one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the United States, their participation in cancer prevention and treatment trials is low.
Methods: Thirty-six Latino community leaders participated in five focus groups that examined factors affecting CRC screening practices among Latinos.
Results: The top four barriers identified were low knowledge and awareness of CRC, language barriers, lack of insurance, and undocumented legal status. Additional barriers included seeking health care only when sick, fatalism, fear, denial that CRC can occur, other needs more pressing than preventive care, and use of home remedies rather than biomedical care. Participants also described strategies that could be used to increase screening rates including mass media, screening reminders, educational programs using visual tools, and interventions tailored to various literacy levels.
Conclusions: To ensure that the specific needs and health beliefs of the Latino community are addressed, future research should incorporate community input to create more tailored and effective cancer educational programs for Latinos.