Early screening is a key step in preventing and catching colorectal cancer early. The American Cancer Society recommends periodic screening for anyone older than 50 at average risk and some people younger than 50 at higher risk for developing the disease.
Elizabeth Rogers, M.D., an internal medicine and pediatrics faculty member at the University of Minnesota, has been working with Sunny Chathanouvong from the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota to increase colorectal cancer screening in Minnesota’s Lao communities.
After surveying nearly 200 participants, they found that while 74 percent of respondents knew screening should begin at age 50, only 45 percent of those older than 50 had ever been tested due to emotional and practical barriers. However, those who had been screened spoke of positive experiences during focus group meetings, sparking interest among other participants.
“Our pilot support allowed us to develop this partnership, which we hope will lead to additional insights into the health of the Lao community and new ways to promote health.” — Elizabeth Rogers, M.D.
Rogers and Chathanouvong—recipients of the Masons-supported Health Disparities Award—are now working with Lao community members to develop interventions that promote colorectal cancer screening. Their goal is to test these new approaches after securing additional funding.