African Americans less likely than whites to get colonoscopy despite family history of colon cancer

March 25, 2008

African Americans who have multiple first-degree relatives with colon cancer are less likely than whites with affected relatives to undergo recommended screening procedures, according to a report in the March 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Family history increases risk for colon cancer, especially if multiple first-degree relatives develop the condition or if one immediate family member is diagnosed before age 60, according to background information in the article. Most clinical guidelines recommend that individuals with these family history factors begin undergoing screening for colorectal cancer at age 40 years, as opposed to age 50 for the general population. A colonoscopy every five years is the screening method of choice.

Harvey J. Murff, M.D., M.P.H., of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues analyzed screening behavior in 41,830 individuals (32,265 African Americans and 9,565 whites) age 40 to 79 years. Demographic characteristics, family cancer history, tobacco and alcohol use, medical history, physical activity level and medication use were assessed at initial interviews, conducted between 2002 and 2006. Participants were also asked whether they had undergone sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy for colon cancer screening.

A total of 538 African Americans (1.7 percent) reported either multiple first-degree relatives with colon cancer or a first-degree relative diagnosed before age 50, compared with 255 whites (2.7 percent). Of those, 27.3 percent of African Americans and 43.1 percent of whites reported having a colonoscopy within the past five years, as recommended. Also in this group, African Americans were less likely than whites (19.7 percent vs. 46.9 percent) to report a personal diagnosis of colorectal polyps, precursors to colorectal cancer.

“For both African Americans and whites with family histories of colon cancer, the most common reason given for not having had a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy was the lack of a recommendation from their health care provider, and this reason was more commonly reported by African Americans,” the authors write.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: African-American women with type 2 diabetes may have higher risk for ER-neg breast cancer

Related Stories

African-American women with type 2 diabetes may have higher risk for ER-neg breast cancer

November 15, 2017
Among African-American women, those with type 2 diabetes may have a higher risk of developing estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer.

Type 2 diabetes associated with risk of aggressive breast cancer in black women

November 15, 2017
African American women with type 2 diabetes (often referred to as adult-onset diabetes) are at a greater risk for developing breast cancer.

How the genomics health revolution is failing ethnic minorities

November 14, 2017
Statistics Canada recently released its 2016 census data, which depicts a Canada that is more diverse than ever before. Today, nearly a quarter of Canadians belong to a "visible minority" and 1.7 million Canadians are Indigenous.

Breast cancer patients forego post-surgery treatment due to mistrust, study suggests

November 1, 2017
Nearly one-third of women with breast cancer went against their doctor's advice and chose not to begin or complete the recommended adjuvant anti-cancer therapy to kill residual tumor cells following surgery, according to ...

Minorities less likely to have breast reconstruction, but not for the reason many think

October 30, 2017
Minority women are far less likely to undergo breast reconstruction than white women, even if they live in the same area and have similar insurance. The finding from a new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the ...

Helping smokers quit: Payments, personalized support can work

October 30, 2017
Money can be more powerful than nicotine, as a new study found that smokers who received financial incentives, in addition to personalized support, to help them quit were more successful than smokers who did not receive these ...

Recommended for you

Decrease in sunshine, increase in Rickets

November 17, 2017
A University of Toronto student and professor have teamed up to discover that Britain's increasing cloudiness during the summer could be an important reason for the mysterious increase in Rickets among British children over ...

Anti-malaria drug shows promise as Zika virus treatment

November 17, 2017
A new collaborative study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and UC San Diego School of Medicine has found that a medication used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective ...

Scientists identify biomarkers that indicate likelihood of survival in infected patients

November 17, 2017
Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease.

Research team unlocks secrets of Ebola

November 16, 2017
In a comprehensive and complex molecular study of blood samples from Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, published today (Nov. 16, 2017) in Cell Host and Microbe, a scientific team led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison has ...

Study raises possibility of naturally acquired immunity against Zika virus

November 16, 2017
Birth defects in babies born infected with Zika virus remain a major health concern. Now, scientists suggest the possibility that some women in high-risk Zika regions may already be protected and not know it.

A structural clue to attacking malaria's 'Achilles heel'

November 16, 2017
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and PATH's Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) have shed light on how the human immune system recognizes the malaria parasite though investigation of antibodies generated ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.