Purpose: Cancer is a leading cause of death among Korean Americans (KAs), one of the most rapidly growing ethnic minority communities in the United States. An understanding about cancer screening practices among Koreans (Ks) living in Korea can be useful in designing culturally sensitive health promotion programs in the United States. The purpose of this study was to describe the cancer screening knowledge and behaviors of a sample of KAs in Los Angeles, California, compared with a similar sample of Ks in Korea.
Description of Study: This descriptive survey used a convenience sample of 140 KAs age 40 and older, living in Los Angeles, California, in 1998. A random sample of 149 Ks from Pusan, Korea, in 1995 to 1996 was used as a comparison group. KAs had lived in the United States for an average of 15 years. A Korean and English language 58-item self-administered questionnaire assessed knowledge of cancer screening tests and personal cancer screening practices.
Results: The findings demonstrate that both KAs and Ks had low participation in cancer screening. Breast cancer screening was significantly more likely among KA women than among Ks; screening rates for cervical cancer and gastrointestinal malignancies were not significantly different between the two groups.
Clinical Implications: These data can be used to assist healthcare professionals in the development of educational tools and strategies for promoting cancer screening programs for KAs. The unique contribution of this study was the opportunity to compare findings from an immigrant Korean population with a similar population in the country of origin.