Racial Disparity in Colon Cancer Incidence and Mortality



A new study from Colorectal Cancer suggests African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and die from the disease than Caucasian Americans.

Race has a profound influence on colon cancer survival rates. Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States, but African Americans are more likely to develop the disease and die from it.

In cooperation with the Medical University of South Carolina, Kristen Wallace et al. studied more than 1000 patients diagnosed with colon cancer for survival based on race and risk of death in two age groups: patients under 50 and over 50.  

African Americans under 50 were more likely to die of colon cancer than Caucasian Americans under 50. However, in patients over the age of 50, race did not affect colon cancer survival rates. The study found tumor location played an important role in colon cancer survival in younger African Americans.

The authors of the study hope the study results will help doctors target patients who require aggressive treatment and monitoring. They also say they must do further research on how the location of colon tumors influence the patients’ responses to treatment.

Schedule Your Colonoscopy to Prevent Colon Cancer

Most cases of colon cancer are preventable through routine colonoscopies. Colonoscopy is the gold standard of colon cancer screening because it can detect and prevent colon cancer in a single procedure. Your doctor can remove any suspicious polyps before they can develop into cancer, making a colonoscopy a life-saving screening.

The American Cancer Society recommends adults at average risk for colon cancer begin screening at age 45. However, African Americans and individuals with a family history of colon cancer should get screened earlier. Talk to your doctor about when you should get screened for colon cancer.

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