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Black History: A Health Disparity

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

Historically speaking Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the African American Community. Colorectal cancer in particular, has raised eyebrows this past year, as it has been the cause of death in high profile public figures in the African American community, such as Chadwick Boseman, and Natalie Desselle-Reid.

According to the American Cancer Society, Colorectal cancer deaths are highest among blacks than any other ethnic group in the United States. Although some of the disparities that plague the African American community can be explained by differences in access to care, and cancer screening, history speaks loudly and matter-of-factly, that we have come far but still have a long way to go.

Colorectal cancer is higher in men, however, among individuals 50 and older, women are more likely than men to develop adenocarcinomas in the proximal colon, which are less efficiently detected through screening. Adenocarcinomas of the colon and rectum make up 95 percent of all colorectal cancer cases. In the gastrointestinal tract, rectal and colon adenocarcinomas develop in the cells of the lining inside the large intestine.

Ways to decrease your risk of colorectal cancer:

  • Get screened regularly and appropriately for your personal medical history and family history of colorectal cancer and polyps.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Live a physically active lifestyle.

  • Limit alcohol consumption.

  • Consume a healthy diet with an emphasis on fiber.

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