African American Woman Reading

The rates of colon, breast and cervical cancer diagnosis and deaths in the United States are steadily declining due to screening and early detection. Thanks to screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies, patients are being diagnosed earlier when the cancer is more easily treated whether by surgery or chemotherapy. Despite the availability of a screening tool, colorectal cancer still has a high death rate each year in the United States, second only to lung cancer.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer include diet, obesity, smoking, level of exercise, personal and family history, age and race. African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with and die from colon cancer each year more than any other race in the United States. This statistic includes both men and women. African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer at more advanced stages making treatment more difficult and survival rates lower. There is no specific genetic mutation known that puts African Americans at greater risk but the higher rate of diagnosis is thought to be related to diet, tobacco use and lack of screening.

There are several different types of screening tools to evaluate for colon cancer. Depending on your age and risk factors, most insurances pay for screening exams after age 50. With advancements in health care and availability of health care to everyone there is no reason to not be screened. Know your family history and talk with your doctor about risk factors and screening options appropriate for you if you are over 50 or have any symptoms of colorectal cancer.

The doctors at Associates In Digestive Health are here to help you with any concerns you have.