Colorectal Cancer Survival Rate Improving Slower in Blacks
The survival rate for colorectal cancer has been improving overall, but new research from the American Cancer Society shows that improvement has been uneven between races. According to UPI, the colorectal cancer mortality rate was 44 percent higher in African-Americans in 2007 than in whites.
Previously, mortality rates related to this form of cancer were lower for African-Americans than for whites. In the 1980s, blacks had better chances of survival when diagnosed with colorectal cancer. What has reversed the tendency seems to be trends for late-stage disease, said study leader Anthony Robbins.
“The widening racial disparity for distant stage has a disproportionate impact on overall colorectal cancer mortality disparities because distant stage accounts for approximately 60 percent of the overall black-white mortality disparity,” the study authors wrote in a statement.
Specifically, while colorectal cancer mortality rates have dropped in the past 20 years in every stage for both blacks and whites, decreases for African-Americans only amounted to 13.2 percent while whites saw an average 30.3 percent drop in mortality rates in all stages of cancer. The trend was particularly noticeable in late stage cancer, Robbins said.
Eurekalert.org also reports that the disparity between blacks and whites is also related to the dissemination of screening and improved colorectal cancer treatment, which has lagged behind among African Americans. Black people have been less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer in the past, researchers say, which is likely why they are diagnosed in later stages of the disease.