Citizenship, particularly for non-U.S. natives, largely determines a woman’s odds of having a mammogram and being screened for cervical and colorectal cancer, according to new research released today at the American Public Health Association’s 141st Annual Meeting in Boston.
According to the research, foreign-born female non-citizens living in the U.S. for less than five years have 69 percent lower odds of being screened for colorectal cancer within the previous five years and foreign-born non-citizens who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years have 24 percent lower odds, compared to U.S born citizens. Additionally, foreign-born non-citizens have significantly lower odds of receiving breast and cervical cancer screening.
This finding coincides with implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which mandates that foreign-born residents who are lawfully present in the U.S. will be eligible for health care coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The current pathway to citizenship in the U.S. is naturalization after five years of legal permanent residency.
“Our findings offer pioneering evidence for the potential protective effects health care and immigration policy reform could have for immigrants — particularly for non-citizens, one of the most vulnerable populations in the United States,” said Patricia Y. Miranda, PhD, MPH, Annual Meeting presenter. “Based on these findings we suggest that limits of duration mandates be reduced. This may be an important consideration in immigration policy that ensures preventive health care and reduction of cancer disparities for immigrant women.”
Researchers in this study consolidated data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the National Health Interview Survey, then analyzed all results from 2000-2010.
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