Colon cancer and breast cancer are the two most common cancer killers.
Colon cancer or breast cancer are not words that anyone wants to hear from their doctor, although the overall numbers for cancer deaths have dropped.
However, according to a new report from the American Cancer Society, there is still a surprising racial difference in the number of deaths and survivors.
Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, confirmed this, saying, “There’s been a dramatic decline in mortality for cancer for all groups. The decline is steeper for blacks than whites, but there is still a black-white disparity.”
A great example of this is the mortality rate for breast cancer, which has also drastically declined overall, but much more in white females. The gap in mortality rates has significantly widened.
In fact, those numbers have dropped 23 percent in black women, but a whopping 37 percent in white women since 1990.
Brawley said of the trend, “Breast cancer in women is the most fascinating pattern because you have dramatic declines for blacks and whites, however the black-white disparity is greater today than it was in 2000, and it was greater in 2000 than it was in 1990, and it did not exist in 1980.”
Colon cancer mortality disparities among white and black men also continue to widen. From 2003 to 2012, the death rate from colon cancer declined more slowly in black men. In fact, in black men it declined 2.5 percent. In white me, it was 3 percent.
The death rate remains 50 percent higher in blacks than in whites since 2005.
So just what is going on here?
Dr. Roshan Bastani, director of Cancer Disparities Research at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, said, “It’s a combination perhaps of some genetics, risk factors such as nutrition and physical activity, and also less access to state-of-the-art early detection and treatment (for blacks).”
Speaking of early detection, those who are 50 years and older who have no symptoms and who are not at a high risk for colon cancer could be in for a change. Based on the latest research The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health now recommends forgoing a colonoscopy for a simple fecal test for microscopic blood instead.
Reportedly, research showed that a colonoscopy was not any more effective at detecting early colon cancer than stool tests.
It remains to be seen if this new recommendation will be taken to heart in the U.S.
What do you think about the racial disparities in colon cancer and breast cancer mortality rates?