Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Studying Low Participation in Cancer Screenings by South Asian Population

September 15, 2014

screeningNew Brunswick, N.J. – In an effort to learn why South Asians in New Jersey and New York City have low participation rates when it comes to some cancer screenings, researchers at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey are conducting a study to further explore this issue. The goal is to use the information to develop a program to help increase screening participation by this population. 

Previous research from investigators at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and others shows that participation by South Asians in screenings to detect breast, cervical and colorectal cancers is lower when compared with the general population in the United States. In order to understand reasons for this low screening rate, researchers are seeking South Asian men and women to take part in small group discussions and mail surveys.  Questions will focus on social and cultural factors that may prevent one from taking part in these screenings, as well as barriers to accessing healthcare services and assessment of overall health knowledge.  Participants do not need to take any medications. An additional component of the study will ask healthcare providers about their knowledge and attitudes toward these screening tests.

Sharon Manne, PhD, associate director of the Cancer Institute’s Cancer Prevention, Control and Population Science Program, is the lead investigator of the study.  “South Asians are one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States, but there are few studies relating to cancer prevention and incidence that are keeping pace with this growth.  Our study aims to understand how cultural beliefs, social influences, overall health knowledge and other factors impact a South Asian individual’s decision on whether to undergo cancer screening.  Such knowledge can aid in the development of specially tailored interventions for this population that would be culturally appropriate,” noted Dr. Manne, who is also a professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

South Asian women 21 and older and South Asian men 50 and older who live in New Jersey or New York City are eligible to take part in the study, although other criteria must also be met. 

For more information on how to participate, individuals can call the research team at 732-235-6088.

Clinical trials and research studies underway at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey explore diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer, as well as management of cancer symptoms.  The Cancer Institute of New Jersey currently enrolls more than 1,200 patients in clinical trials annually, including approximately 17 percent of all new adult cancer patients and approximately 70 percent of all pediatric cancer patients. That compares with fewer than five percent of all adult cancer patients enrolled nationwide. 

As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Cancer Institute offers patients access to treatment options not available at other institutions within the state. 

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 732-235-8614 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center, and Cooper University Hospital. Affiliate Hospitals: JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, and University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. 


Michele Fisher


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