Breast, Cervical, Colorectal, and Prostate Cancer Screening in Rural America: Does Proximity to a Metropolitan Area Matter?

Research center:
Project funded:
September 2002
Project completed:
November 2007

Because local cancer screening services frequently are not available in rural locations, many persons need to travel great distances to medical facilities for screening. Lower levels of education, income and health insurance coverage among rural residents and minority group members serve as additional barriers to cancer screening. However, no studies using nationally representative data have explored whether persons residing in remote rural locations fare worse on cancer screening, and few studies have examined the issue of cancer screening among rural minority group members. For this study, non-public use data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) were used to explore the prevalence and trends of screening for four types of cancer (colorectal, breast, cervical, and prostate). The study compared screening rates by state among various levels of rural versus urban BRFSS respondents and among white respondents versus those from racial/ethnic minority groups. Analyses are complete and the study will be published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.