October 31, 2005

Blacks diagnosed with colon cancer at younger age

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - African-Americans are more
susceptible to colon cancer at an earlier age than are whites,
new study findings suggest, but they are also more likely to
have tumors that respond well to treatment if caught early.

Dr. Emmanuel Akinyemi and his associates reviewed the
medical records of 177 patients with colorectal cancer treated
at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, which, according to
Akinyemi, serves a multi-ethnic population.

The team reported their findings this week at the annual
meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.

"There were no major differences based on gender," the
researcher said. However, "the mean age at presentation was 69
years for Caucasians, but only 63 years for African-Americans,"
he added.

"This reinforces the new guidelines that advise screening
African Americans starting at age 45," Akinyemi pointed out

The investigators also found that 42 percent of the bowel
cancers in African-Americans were a type that tends to not be
very aggressive. He stressed the importance of screening at an
early age, because when these tumors are detected early "the
prognosis may be very good."