Minorities Face Different Colon Cancer Risks
Risk of Colorectal Cancer Death Varies Within Smaller Racial and Ethnic Groups in U.S.
WebMD News Archive
June 27, 2005 -- Blacks and other minorities in the U.S. face greater
colorectal cancer risks than whites, according to a new study.
The results show that minorities are up to 60% more likely to have
colorectal cancer diagnosed at an advanced stage -- and up to 30% more likely
to die from the disease -- than whites.
Blacks are hardest hit by colorectal cancer, but researchers say this is the
first study to compare colorectal cancer risks within smaller racial and ethnic
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the
U.S. The risk of death depends largely on the stage at which the disease is
diagnosed, treatment, and as this study suggests, ethnic group.
Risks Vary by Race and Ethnic Group
Blacks and American Indians are more likely to have colorectal cancer
diagnosed at a later stage and die from the disease than Asians and whites. But
researchers say information about other racial groups has been limited.
In this study, which appears in the Aug. 1 issue of the journal
Cancer, researchers analyzed data on more than 150,000 people from 18
different races and ethnicities who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer from
1988 to 2000.
The results showed that the risks associated with colorectal cancer varied
widely within different racial and ethnic subgroups, which suggests that risk
assessments based on broad categories, such as non-Hispanic white or
Asian/Pacific Islander, may not be entirely accurate.
For example, the results showed:
- Blacks, American Indians, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic whites
were more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stages of colorectal cancer than
- Blacks, American Indians, and Mexicans had higher risks of dying from
colorectal cancer than non-Hispanic whites.
- Asians/Pacific Islanders had a lower risk than non-Hispanic whites.
But when researchers divided these broad categories into narrower ones they
found much more variation in risk. Specifically, compared to the overall
category of non-Hispanic whites:
- The risk of death due to colorectal cancer was 20%-30% higher among blacks,
American Indians, Hawaiians, and Mexicans. But Chinese, Japanese, and
Indians/Pakistanis had a 10%-40% lower risk.
- Within the category of Asian/Pacific Islander, the risk of being diagnosed
with colorectal cancer at the most advanced stage (stage IV) and/or death was
lower for Chinese, Japanese, and Indians/Pakistanis but higher for Filipinos
- Within the category of Hispanic white, the risk of being diagnosed with
colorectal cancer at the latest stage was similar for Cubans and Puerto Ricans
but elevated for Mexicans and South/Central Americans.