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Do Ethnicity, Race, and Social Status Impact Colon Cancer Risk?

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Updated: October 17, 2008

Question: Do Ethnicity, Race, and Social Status Impact Colon Cancer Risk?

Some groups of people more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer than others. The reasons are varied, but ethnicity, race, and social status all play a part.

Answer: Research has found a genetic mutation leading to colorectal cancer in Jews of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews). One study found the mutation (called the I1307K APC mutation) in approximately 10% of Ashkenazi Jews with colorectal cancer. It's still unclear, though, whether the genetic mutation is responsible or just happens to be present.

In general, minority populations are at greater risk of dying from colorectal cancer because they receive preventive care less often. This includes racial minorities such as Native Americans, Hispanics, Vietnamese, and African Americans, as well as social minorities such as gays and lesbians. Colon cancer screening is a crucial step in preventing this disease.

Related Articles: Sources:
  1. Colon Cancer: How is Colon Cancer Inherited? Genetic Health. 4 Aug. 2000. 23 Jun. 2006 [http://www.genetichealth.com/CRC_Colon_Cancer_Does_Colon_Cancer_Run_in_Families.shtml].
  2. Fact Sheet: Minorities and Colorectal Cancer. Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation. 27 Jul. 2006 [http://www.preventcancer.org/pdf/toolkit.pdf].
  3. Heck, Julia and Sell, Randall. "Health Care Access Among Individuals Involved in Same-Sex Relationships." Medscape Today. 20 Jul. 2006. 26 Jul. 2006 [http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/540886?src=mp].
  4. Schwartz, Martin. "Gay Men and the Health Care System." Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services 5.1 (1996): 19-32. 26 Jul. 2006 [http://www.bubl.ac.uk/archive/journals/jgalss/v05n0196.htm].
  5. Peterson, K. J. and Bricker-Jenkins, M. "Lesbians and the Health Care System." Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services 5.1 (1996): 33-47. 26 Jul. 2006 [http://www.bubl.ac.uk/archive/journals/jgalss/v05n0196.htm].
  6. Roberts, S. J. and Sorensen, L. "Health Related Behaviors and Cancer Screening of Lesbians: Results from the Boston Lesbian Health Project." Women & Health 28.4 (1999): 1-12. PubMed. 26 Jul. 2006 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10378342&dopt=Abstract].
  7. Walsh, Judith and Kaplan, Celia. "Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening in Latino and Vietnamese Americans Compared With Non-Latino White Americans." Medscape Today. 22 Mar. 2004. 27 Jul. 2006 [http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/471487].
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