By Scott Blair
Colon cancer is a serious issue; some studies and statistics bring alarming news for the Black community.
Black people are 20% more likely to get colon cancer and 40% more likely to die from the disease than any other ethnic group. According to one of the most recent studies by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), both Black men and women have the highest newly diagnosed colon cancer rates.
More Key Colon Cancer Statistics
A positive point regarding colorectal cancer is that cases have declined overall since the 1980s, while between 2011-2019, incidence rates dropped about 1% per year in older adults. However, with people under 50, colorectal cancer incidence rates have increased by 1-2% every year since the 1990s.
Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed form of cancer in men and women, excluding skin cancers in the United States. It’s also the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country. According to the American Cancer Society, 2023 will see an estimated 106,970 new colon cancer cases and 46,050 new rectal cancer cases.
One in 23 men and one in 26 women have a risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime, and colorectal cancer is expected to cause more than 50,000 deaths in 2023.
How to Combat Colon Cancer?
Getting screened early and regularly is a great way to combat colorectal cancer, especially if you have a history of it in your family. Also, lifestyle plays a part in decreasing your chances of getting colon cancer. Lifestyle choices that affect your odds of getting colon cancer are:
- Being/Not Being Active
- Being Overweight/Obese
- Specific Diets – Red Meats/Processed Meats
- Moderate to Heavy Amounts of Alcohol
- Not Getting Screened
Rare Syndromes Related to Colon Cancer
There are two extremely rare syndromes to know about. Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) is an inherited condition. People with PJS have shown a higher risk of colorectal cancer and other forms of cancer. Those with this condition tend to have freckles around their mouths and sometimes hands and feet. PJS symptoms are caused by mutations in the STK11 (LKB1) gene.
MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP) is another rare symptom with higher incidences of colon cancer. People with MAP often develop polyps, which almost always lead to cancer. They also have an increased risk of other cancers of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and thyroid. MAP is caused by mutations in the MUTYH gene (involved in “proofreading” the DNA and fixing any mistakes) and often leads to cancer at a younger age.
Colorectal Cancer in Texas
The latest statistics out of Texas show that in 2022, 12,444 Texans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 4,447 died from it. It’s the third most common cause of cancer death in both men and women.
Here is some other information about cancer for Texas residents.