Background:

Food insecurity (FI) has been associated with poor access to health care. It is unclear whether this association is beyond that predicted by income, education, and health insurance. FI may serve as a target for intervention given the many programs designed to ameliorate FI. We examined the association of FI with being up-to-date to colorectal cancer and breast cancer screening guidelines.

Methods:

Nine NCI-designated cancer centers surveyed adults in their catchment areas using demographic items and a two-item FI questionnaire. For the colorectal cancer screening sample (n = 4,816), adults ages 50–75 years who reported having a stool test in the past year or a colonoscopy in the past 10 years were considered up-to-date. For the breast cancer screening sample (n = 2,449), female participants ages 50–74 years who reported having a mammogram in the past 2 years were up-to-date. We used logistic regression to examine the association between colorectal cancer or breast cancer screening status and FI, adjusting for race/ethnicity, income, education, health insurance, and other sociodemographic covariates.

Results:

The prevalence of FI was 18.2% and 21.6% among colorectal cancer and breast cancer screening participants, respectively. For screenings, 25.6% of colorectal cancer and 34.1% of breast cancer participants were not up-to-date. In two separate adjusted models, FI was significantly associated with lower odds of being up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening [OR, 0.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.5–0.99)] and breast cancer screening (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4–0.96).

Conclusions:

FI was inversely associated with being up-to-date for colorectal cancer and breast cancer screening.

Impact:

Future studies should combine FI and cancer screening interventions to improve screening rates.

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