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Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Aug 1;158(3):272-9.

Population- and community-based recruitment of African Americans and Latinos: the San Francisco Bay Area Lung Cancer Study.

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  • 1Northern California Cancer Center, Union City, CA 94587, USA.


Empiric data on recruitment of minorities into clinical or population studies are limited. The authors evaluated population- and community-based recruitment methods in a 1998-2001 case-control study of lung cancer among African Americans and Latinos. For lung cancer cases in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, rapid case ascertainment by the tumor registry combined with telephone screening identified 470 (9%) African Americans and 262 (5%) Latinos. When random digit dialing (RDD) and Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) records failed to yield adequate numbers of controls in appropriate age-gender-ethnicity groups, community-based recruitment methods were used. Demographic characteristics and behavioral and occupational risk factors for controls, by recruitment method, were compared with those for lung cancer cases to evaluate potential bias. The average numbers of hours spent per control recruited were 18.6 for RDD, 11.4 for HCFA, and less than 1 for the community-based methods. The prevalence of smoking-related lung cancer risk factors was significantly higher among African-American community-based controls than for those identified through RDD (p < 0.005). Compared with HCFA controls, Latino RDD controls reported significantly higher cumulative smoking exposure (p < 0.05). Further assessment of strategies for successful recruitment of minority participants into epidemiologic studies is warranted.

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