How Race Affects A Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis


When issues of health and wellness are presented, clearly delineated differences between groups of individuals diagnosed with and surviving cancer are apparent. Why would one group of individuals fare better than others in avoiding a cancer diagnosis? How are some patients, who have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, better able to make it to the “survivor” stage than others?

Fortunately, organizations like the Centers for Disease Control, The American Cancer Society, and the Colon Cancer Alliance have been tracking the numbers of cases for years and have compiled this data into easily identifiable trends. These trends, that occur within large sectors of the population, can be attributed to a stimulus that prompts action, and action then shifts the numbers of incidence or mortality. In the case of colorectal cancer, that stimulus is the push for proper and timely screening and awareness campaigns for the prevention of the disease.

The past 30 years have seen response by properly informed communities who seek out screening for colorectal cancer, a disease that is 90% preventable when screened for and treated. Most new cases (approximately 90%) are diagnosed in individuals over the age of 50. Therefore, effective screening starts with recommendations to and education of this 50+ group, which has resulted in declining incidence and mortality trends seen since 1980.

The United States is a landscape of varying people, and those people, due to differing backgrounds, family impacts, education, socioeconomic influences, and access to healthcare, have a huge range in the percentage of individuals within a race who seek screening for, are diagnosed with, and succumb to colorectal cancer. The impacts of race on a colorectal cancer diagnosis and the survival rates beyond diagnosis and treatment are huge points of discussion in medical circles. How can the at-risk groups be more exposed to the information that might save their lives?