| Breaking News |
Hispanic and African Americans
at Greater Risk
Update from Dr. Harry Snady
"New findings presented at the American College of Gastroenterology suggest that colorectal cancer screening should be considered for both Hispanic American and African American patients starting at age 40, regardless of family history."
Reducing colorectal cancer among African Americans has continued to be a challenge. The Committee on Minority Affairs and Cultural Diversity from the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) has now officially recognized an ethnic disparity in colorectal cancer rates. The Committee now recommends that African Americans begin screening at 45 rather than the usually recommended age of 50.
Even newer findings, presented at the latest ACG annual meeting this March 2005, show that more than a quarter of Hispanic American, as well as African American, colorectal cancer patients were diagnosed before age 50. Only half had a family history. Head researcher, Jaydutt Vagdama, PhD, of the Charles R Drew University of Science and Medicine in LA, therefore suggests screening from age 40 for both groups.
Colonoscopy for screening is even more important for certain ethnic groups and not just because of its greater overall effectiveness. As published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in March, African Americans have more cancers and polyps on the right side of the colon where only colonoscopy can reach.
Why is there more and earlier colon cancer in Hispanic Americans and African Americans? We still don’t know for sure. No specific genetic abnormality has been found to date; however, diet, nutrition, lack of exercise, less screening and diagnostic testing, and smoking have been implicated.