Why are Korean American physicians reluctant to recommend colorectal cancer screening to Korean American patients? Exploratory interview findings

J Immigr Minor Health. 2009 Aug;11(4):302-9. doi: 10.1007/s10903-008-9165-z. Epub 2008 Jul 8.


Background: Korean Americans have one of the lowest screening rates for colorectal cancer. Although physician recommendation is one of the most important predictors of cancer screening across populations, only few Korean American patients receive such a recommendation.

Methods: We interviewed 14 Korean American physicians in Los Angeles area who primarily serve Korean Americans to explore why they are reluctant to recommend colorectal cancer screening to their Korean patients.

Results: Physicians identified barriers attributable to themselves (i.e., lack of knowledge, fear of medicolegal liability), their patients (i.e., patient's unfamiliarity with the concept of screening), and the health care system (i.e., lack of referral network, poor reimbursement).

Discussion: Our results suggest the need for multi-faceted interventions directed at the physicians, their patients, and the health care system. Further research is needed to validate our results and to assess the extent to which they apply to physicians from other racial/ethnic groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asian Americans*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Korea / ethnology
  • Male
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Trust
  • United States / epidemiology