ASCRS Urges Minorities to Get Screened

This Follows Death of Actor Chadwick Boseman, Who Died Earlier this Year from Colorectal Cancer
In the US, when men and women are combined, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer and the second most common cause of death due to cancer. ASCRS, Howard University Healthcare and the National Medical Association calls for increase in screening, evaluation and education in order to effectively diagnose colorectal cancer sooner.
“Chadwick Boseman’s death underscores the disparity in both incidence and mortality rates for colorectal cancer in African Americans,” emphasized Dr. Neil Hyman, President of ASCRS. Dr. Erin King-Mullins, Chair of the ASCRS Diversity Task Force, adds, “African Americans have not seen an overall decrease in colorectal cancer incidence and mortality, and they have a higher rate of cancers in their 40s.”
One reason behind this higher mortality rate of colorectal cancer in African Americans is that they are more likely to have late stage disease at the time of diagnosis. This is a consequence of lower numbers of people being screened and patients not being evaluated when symptoms first develop.
Screening is recommended to start at age 50 and it is covered by most if not all health insurers. However, because African Americans have a higher risk for having colorectal cancer at a younger age, it is recommended that they be screened beginning at age 45.
Through screening, precancerous lesions and early asymptomatic cancers can be identified and addressed. There are several different modalities for colorectal cancer screening, and these include colonoscopy, stool DNA, fecal occult blood test (FOBT), fecal immunochemical test (FIT), barium enema, or virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography).
The risks for developing colorectal cancer are increased for those with a family history of colorectal cancer, or prior history of some other cancers. However, other risk factors such as obesity, diets high in fats, but low in fruits and vegetables, smoking, excessive use of alcohol, and in those with type 2 diabetes may be of greater significance.
The most common symptoms for colorectal cancer are change in bowel pattern or shape of stool that persists for several days, continued sense of the need to pass stool, but can’t, blood from the anus, blood mixed in the stool, abdominal pain, rectal pain, weakness and or fatigue, and unintended weight loss.


The 4,000+ member American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, is the premier society for colon and rectal surgeons and other surgeons dedicated to advancing and promoting the science and practice of the treatment of patients with diseases and disorders affecting the colon, rectum and anus.  Its board-certified colon and rectal surgeons complete a residency in general surgery, plus an additional year in colon and rectal surgery, and pass an intensive examination conducted by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery.  For more information, visit
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