Get Screened during National Colorectal Awareness Month in March

March 11, 2014

More than 20 Million Adults in the U.S. Have Not Been Screened for the Second Leading Cause of Cancer Death

A. Steven McIntosh, M.D., FACG, Minority Affairs and Cultural Diversity Committee, American College of Gastroenterology

(Washington, DC, Tuesday, March 11, 2014) – One in three adults aged 50 to 75 years has not been tested for colorectal cancer – that’s more than 20 million adults in the U.S. who haven’t had any screenings for the second leading cause of cancer death in America. This is vital information to highlight during National Colorectal Awareness Month in March.

Among African Americans, incidence rates of colorectal cancer are more than 20% higher than those in whites. According to the American Cancer Society, after accounting for differences in age and stage of diagnosis, African American men and women have a greater probability of dying from colorectal cancer once they are diagnosed compared to non-Hispanic whites (45% higher). Factors that may contribute to disparities in survival by race and ethnicity include differences in access to early detection, timely and high-quality treatment and supportive care, and co-morbidities.

In the Hispanic community, colorectal cancer is the second-most commonly diagnosed cancer in both Hispanic men and women.

Key Findings:

  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States.
  • Colorectal cancer often can be prevented. Screening can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment can be very effective.
  • Colonoscopy is among the most powerful tools in use in clinical medicine, because of its potential both to identify and remove of colorectal polyps before they turn into cancer.
  • Polyps and colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms, especially at first.
  • Both men and women are at risk. Colorectal cancer is an “equal opportunity offender.”
  • Many insurance plans, including Medicare, help pay for colorectal cancer screening.
  • According to the American Cancer Society, the colon cancer death rate in this country could be cut in half if Americans simply followed recommended screening guidelines.  Last year alone, more than 50,000 people died of colorectal cancer in the United States.

For more information visit the American College of Gastroenterology.

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