Although racism is increasingly being studied as an important contributor to racial health disparities, its relation to cancer-related outcomes among African Americans remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to help clarify the relation between two indicators of racism—perceived racial discrimination and racial residential segregation—and cancer screening. We conducted a multilevel, longitudinal study among a medically underserved population of African Americans in Texas. We assessed discrimination using the Experiences of Discrimination Scale and segregation using the Location Quotient for Racial Residential Segregation. The outcome examined was “any cancer screening completion” (Pap test, mammography, and/or colorectal cancer screening) at follow-up (3–10 months post-baseline). We tested hypothesized relations using multilevel logistic regression. We also conducted interaction and stratified analyses to explore whether discrimination modified the relation between segregation and screening completion. We found a significant positive relation between discrimination and screening and a non-significant negative relation between segregation and screening. Preliminary evidence suggests that discrimination modifies the relation between segregation and screening. Racism has a nuanced association with cancer screening among African Americans. Perceived racial discrimination and racial residential segregation should be considered jointly, rather than independently, to better understand their influence on cancer screening behavior.
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