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Study: Racial Disparity in Colon Cancer

Dr. John M. Carethers, a researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School, has conducted a study that may lead to concrete conclusions as to why African Americans have lower colon cancer survival rates. The study included African American and Caucasian colon cancer patients with a goal of determining if the groups had a genetic marker called microsatellite instability (MSI). Patients with MSI tumors have higher survival rates, and it was found that 14% of Caucasians and 7% of African-Americans had MSI colon cancer. Dr. Carethers also found that African Americans were more likely to have colon cancer on the right side of their colon, which he calls the "black ice" of colon cancer because it is hard to detect and extremely dangerous. Learn more about this study.

The Colon Cancer Alliance understands that there are significant costs associated with colon cancer screening. We also understand that most screening programs out there don’t provide screening to patients who are high risk, genetically predisposed, symptomatic or below age 50.  That’s why we have created the Blue Hope Prevention Award, which offers low-cost screening to the uninsured or a $300 cash stipend to defray the costs associated with screening. By removing the barriers and enabling those in a high risk pool to be screened, we hope to increase screening rates, which will in turn decrease the number of colon cancer related deaths.

Study: Family History & Lifestyle as Cancer Risk Factors

Swedish researchers conducted a study to discover whether a person’s lifestyle or genetics would put them at a greater risk for certain cancers, including colon cancer. This study, which involved 71,000 people who grew up with adopted families, concluded that genetics is a greater risk factor for colon, breast and prostate cancers than a person's lifestyle. People who had a family history of cancer were also at an increased risk to have cancer at a younger age. Learn more about this study.

In the last decade, colon cancer has become a reality for many people younger than age 50 and it’s the only population where incidence rates are on the rise. Given these alarming statistics, the Colon Cancer Alliance is launching the Never Too Young Coalition, a group of 31 organizations and researchers in the colon cancer community dedicated to decreasing incidence rates and lives lost to colon cancer in the young adult population. In conjunction with the Never Too Young Coalition, the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Never Too Young website offers resources and information about risk factors, as well as stories of other survivors who were diagnosed under age 50.


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