Colorectal cancer screening. Knowledge and practices among Korean Americans

Cancer Pract. 1998 May-Jun;6(3):167-75. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-5394.1998.006003167.x.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine knowledge and practices of colorectal cancer screening among Korean Americans.

Description of study: The sample consisted of 104 Korean American men and 159 women, 40 to 69 years of age, living in the Chicago area. The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Cancer Control Supplement Questionnaire, prepared by the National Center for Health Statistics, was used to collect data regarding colorectal cancer screening knowledge and practices. The NHIS questionnaire was translated into Korean with minor modification.

Results: The percentage of male respondents ever having had a digital rectal exam (DRE) and fecal occult blood test (FOBT) were 13.5% and 10.6%, respectively. Only 11.3% of women reported DRE and 8.8% FOBT. Multiple logistic regression analysis results indicate that gender, education, knowledge of the seven cancer warning signals, and length of residence in the United States were significantly related to having heard of DRE. For those having had DRE, knowledge of the seven cancer warning signals, and length of residence in the United States were the only significant variables. Gender and education were significantly related to having heard of FOBT. None of the variables were found to be significantly related to having had FOBT. The findings indicate that a majority of respondents were unaware of these cancer screening examinations and forego these tests due to an underestimation of their importance.

Clinical implications: The findings of this study underscore the importance of cancer education and further research addressing the cancer screening needs of Korean Americans. Currently, Korean Americans do not see healthcare providers or health brochures as valuable sources of health information. Therefore, healthcare professionals need to target this population by 1) coordinating their efforts with church and other community leaders and 2) developing health brochures that are in the Korean language and sensitive to the Korean culture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian / psychology*
  • Chicago
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Korea / ethnology
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires