Background: Two factors jointly account for significant gaps in access to health care among immigrants who are present in the U.S.—legal status, and length of residence. The objective of this study is to examine the association between citizenship and length of residence in the U.S. and cancer screening (breast, cervical, and colorectal) among women. Methods: We analyzed 11 years (2000–2010) of consolidated data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey linked with the National Health Interview Survey. Multivariate analyses compared cancer screening among U.S.-born citizens (n = 58,484), immigrant citizens (n = 8,404), and immigrant non-citizens (n = 6,564). Results: Immigrant non-citizens living in the U.S. for less than 5 years were less likely to receive guideline-concordant breast (OR = 0.68 [0.53–0.88]), cervical (OR = 0.65 [0.54–0.78]), and colorectal (OR = 0.31 [0.19–0.50]) cancer screening compared to U.S.-born citizens. Immigrant citizens and non-citizens living in the U.S. for 5 years or more had higher odds of being screened for breast and cervical cancer compared to U.S.-born citizens; (OR = 1.26 [1.13–1.41] and OR = 1.17 [1.06–1.29]) for immigrant citizens, (OR = 1.28 [1.13–1.45] and OR = 1.23 [1.09–1.38]) for non-citizens. Immigrant non-citizens living in the U.S. for 5 years or more had lower odds of being screened for colorectal cancer compared to U.S.-born citizens (OR = 0.76 [0.65–0.90]). Conclusions: Based on these findings, duration mandates in immigration policy may indirectly influence future pathways to preventive health care and cancer disparities disproportionately affecting immigrant women. We suggest that limits of duration mandates be reevaluated, as they may offer pathways to preventive health care for this vulnerable population, and prevent future cancer disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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