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Rates of Colon Cancer in African Americans

Rates of Colon Cancer in African Americans

There has been a significant drop the past 20 years in mortality rates for colorectal cancer with the advancements in early detection for patients, however that decline is much greater for whites than blacks.

African Americans have the highest rates for colorectal cancer than any other racial and ethnic group in the United States. In 2007, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that among men, black men had the highest incidence rate of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer with a rate of 62.0 per 100,000 compared to 51.5 for white men. Black women also had the highest rate among women with a rate of 47.1 per 100,000 compared to 38.5 of white women (Source: CDC)

A more concentrated study was done by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which looked at racial disparities in specific stages of colorectal cancer patients. They looked at three stages of the disease, localized, regional and distant, and found that mortality rates have indeed decreased at each stage for white and blacks; however, the decreases were smaller for blacks. The localized stage showed that mortality rates decreased by 30.3 percent for whites compared to 13.2 percent in blacks. In the regional stage, mortality rates decreased by 48.5 percent for whites and 34.0 percent for blacks, and in the distant stage mortality rates decreased by 32.6 percent for whites and 4.6 percent for blacks (Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology)

While the reasons for these differences is uncertain, many believe societal factors in health care play a role when it comes to African Americans receiving the option for early screening. Many African Americans with colorectal cancer seek treatment well after the disease has progressed, when survival rates are much less likely. African Americans need to be more informed about the significance of early screening as well as healthy lifestyle habits that may help prevent colorectal cancer (Source: NewYorkTimes)

posted on February 6, 2013 in news