New colorectal cancer screening recommendations for African Americans

provide culturally sensitive patient education on colorectal cancer to African Americans.

Reducing the high morbidity and mortality associated with colorectal cancer among African Americans continues to be a major healthcare challenge in the United States. In response to this challenge, the leadership of the American College of Gastroenterology asked the Committee on Minority Affairs and Cultural Diversity to develop a position paper on colorectal cancer in African Americans. The committee has done an extensive review of the literature on colorectal cancer screening and issues related to screening in African Americans to support their recommendations. One important goal was to improve awareness among primary care physicians and gastroenterologists of the important differences in colorectal cancer between African Americans and Caucasians.

Facts about Colorectal Cancer in African Americans

  • African Americans have the highest incidence of colorectal cancer of any racial or ethnic group. Data from the population-based cancer registries that constitute the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute show that during 19752000 colorectal incidence rates in White men and women peaked in 1985 and have declined since.
  • In 2000 the incidence rates in White men and women were 2025 percent lower than peak rates in 1985 and 1015 percent lower than the rates in 1975. During this same interval, incidence rates in African American men increased, and the rates were stable in African American women.
  • From 1996 to 2000, incidence rates in African Americans as a group were 12.3 percent higher than those in Caucasians, 9.5 percent higher in African American men when compared to Caucasian men, and 17.5 percent higher in African American women when compared to Caucasian women.
  • The reasons for higher incidence rates in African Americans are unclear; however, dietary, nutritional factors, ra

Contact: Anne-Louise Oliphant
American College of Gastroenterology

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