Diverse Populations


Race has a profound influence on colon cancer survival rates. Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States, but some racial or ethnic communities have higher risk factors or cultural barriers.



Colorectal cancer is the second-deadliest cancer among Hispanic men and the third-deadliest cancer among Hispanic women, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2018, colon cancer screening prevalence was 9 percent lower among Hispanics than non-Hispanic Whites among adults aged 45 and older. Hispanic men and women continue to be the least likely to have health insurance out of any racial or ethnic group. For those without insurance, there are resources to learn about a low-cost or free colonoscopy. Some resources include the Colorectal Cancer Alliance Helpline, ColonoscopyAssist or your state’s health and human services or department of health.

African Americans

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Black and African American people in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Colon cancer incidences and mortality rates are higher among African Americans than in any other racial and ethnic group in the United States. Compared to other groups, African Americans are 20 percent more likely to develop colon cancer and 40 percent more likely to die from the disease. Studies also show African Americans are at higher risk of developing polyps on the right side of the colon, which are often more challenging to detect.

Asians / Pacific Islanders

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer among Asian Americans / Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Asians / Pacific Islanders have one of the lowest rates of colorectal cancer screening in the United States, with only 52 percent up to date with their screening. Colorectal cancer often begins as a growth, called a polyp, inside the colon or rectum. If not removed, these polyps may become cancerous. Colonoscopy is the only screening procedure where a doctor can find and remove polyps in the colon or rectum before they become cancerous. The highest colorectal cancer survival rates are for this community (68 percent), but that number could be higher if screening rates increased. Colon cancer can be prevented with timely screenings starting at age 45, even if you don’t have symptoms.

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