Health Matters: Understanding The Severity Of Colorectal Cancer

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which shines the light on the 3rd leading cause of cancer-regarding deaths in both men and women in the United States. As per to The American Cancer Society, 106,590 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed in 2024.

Not so far, there has been a troubling increase in the incidence of colorectal cancer among individuals below the age of 50 over the last few decades. Chadwick Boseman, popular for his main role in the hit film Black Panther, passed away from the cancer at age 43, which left our community and beyond shocked and confused.

Prior this month, his widow, Taylor Simone Ledward-Boseman, spoke at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, where she urged people to attend screenings (available to people in the United States from the age of 45 years), saying that the cancer was “treatable when detected early.”

The American Cancer Society states that in 2020, about 12% of colorectal cancers will be diagnosed in people under the age of 50 in the United States. Including, there’s a higher risk of colorectal cancer in Black Americans, as it disproportionately affects the Black community, where the rates are the highest of any racial/ethnic group in the United States. Unfortunately, Black Americans are about 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40% more likely to passed away from it than most other groups.

But why? The reasons are came out and complex, as the lack of healthcare access, brought on by socioeconomic status, is a factor. “Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the country,” said Durado Brooks, M.D. vice president of prevention and early detection at the American Cancer Society. “This disease is ravaging the Black community, and it is as important as ever that everyone has access to and is receiving the recommended screenings. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, screening tests remain available to prevent or discover the disease at an early, more treatable stage.”

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