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American Cancer Society

Colorectal cancer disproportionately affects the Black community, where the rates are the highest of any racial/ethnic group in the US. African Americans are about 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40% more likely to die from it than most other groups.

The reasons for the differences are complex, but they largely reflect differences in risk factors and in health care access, both of which are related to socioeconomic status.

In fact, African Americans are disproportionately burdened by cancer in general. They often experience greater obstacles to cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and survival, including systemic racial disparities that are complex and go beyond the obvious connection to cancer. These obstacles can include lower paying jobs and lack of (or less comprehensive) health insurance, lack of access to healthy and affordable foods, low-quality education and housing, and unsafe environments.

“Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the country,” said Durado Brooks, M.D. vice president of prevention and early detection at the American Cancer Society.

“This disease is ravaging the Black community, and it is as important as ever that everyone has access to and is receiving the recommended screenings. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, necessary screening tests remain available to prevent the disease or find it at an early, more treatable stage.”

See “Colorectal Cancer Rates Higher in African Americans, Rising in Younger People” on the American Cancer Society website

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