The answer is: Yes! In addition, colorectal cancer rates are rising in younger, African Americans.
Often we associate colon cancer with older people. While it isn’t as common in people under the age of 50, it’s not as uncommon as most people would think. According to cancer.org, in 2020 about 12% of colon cancer, about 18,000 cases, were diagnosed in people under 50 in the US. They also state that while colorectal cancer rates have been falling in older age groups, it is rising among younger people.
The black community has the highest rates of colorectal cancer compared to any other ethnic or racial group in the US. African Americans are around 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and around 40% more likely to die from it than other groups.
While cancer.org mentions the reasons are complex, much of the reasons are related to “socioeconomic” status. Obstacles can be greater to access to healthcare, education, housing, affordable, healthy food and less safe environments as other groups.
“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.”
Can screening help prevent and find some cancers? The answer is yes. If people in the higher risk categories begin screening at the age of 45 (or earlier), cancer can be detected earlier thereby detecting any problems earlier. It’s important you talk to your doctor to determine if you fall into one of the higher risk categories. Testing doesn’t necessarily mean a colonoscopy. There are many home tests that are less invasive and also provide accurate, fast results that can help determine if you should seek medical care. Making sure you pay attention to warning signs and if you fall into a “high-risk” category is imperative. The following are reasons you may want to test early.
- A family history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
- A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
- A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
- A known or suspected family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (also known as hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer, or HNPCC)
- A personal history of radiation to the abdomen (belly) or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer
We suggest contacting your medical professional with questions or concerns. ALFA manufactures and distributes at-home colon screening tests. Please click here for more information.
A helpful link to determine your risk: Click Here