Minorities Are Disproportionately Affected by More Severe Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is more likely to affect minority patients at a younger age compared to their white counterparts, according to findings presented in Cancer Medicine.

Colorectal cancer is more likely to affect minority patients at a younger age compared to their white counterparts, according to findings presented in Cancer Medicine.

Researchers from the University of Missouri Columbia used data from two databases to compare the colorectal cancer disparities in African Americans, Hispanics, Asians/ Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/ Alaska Natives compared to non-Hispanic whites.

The study authors noted that most of the current guidelines’ recommended screenings for colorectal cancer begin at age 50 — although not all guidelines agree, as reported in MD Magazine.

The investigators observed the median age for colorectal cancer diagnosis in the various racial populations: Hispanics, 66 years; Asians/ Pacific Islanders, 68 years; American Indians/ Alaska Natives, 64 years; African Americans, 64 years; and Non Hispanic whites, 72 years.

Compared to 6.7% of non Hispanic whites, the minority populations were diagnosed with colorectal cancer after age 50 at the following rates: Asians/ Pacific Islanders, 12%; Hispanics, 15.4%; American Indians/ Alaska Natives, 16.5%; and African Americans, 11.9%.

“We found that minorities under the age of 50 were twice as likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer compared to non Hispanic whites,” lead author Jamal Ibdah, MD, PhD said in a press release.

“On average, minorities were diagnosed between the ages of 64 and 68, while non Hispanic whites were typically diagnosed at age 72. When diagnosed, minority groups also had more advanced stages of cancer.”

Additionally, minority groups experienced more advanced stages of cancer compared to non-Hispanic whites. Ibdah suggested that issues like hereditary and environmental factors, diet, and lifestyle could impact the development of colorectal cancer at a young age.

However, the advanced diagnosis among minorities could be attributed to lower screening rates, lower income levels, and reduced access to education and health care, Ibdah said.

“Regular screening for colorectal cancer is essential for prevention and early diagnosis,” Ibdah said. “Our findings suggest a need for further studies to examine current guidelines for all minority groups in the U.S. and the development of possible new interventional strategies.”