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African American Colon Cancer Rates Higher

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- African-Americans with colon cancer are more than 50 percent more likely to die of their cancer within five and 10 years after surgery than Caucasians.

Researchers at the University of Alabama-Birmingham said the racial differences in long-term survival may be due, not to the tumor stage at diagnosis or treatment -- factors related to healthcare access -- but to other genetic or biological factors associated with the tumor.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among both men and women in the United States, with approximately 150,000 new cases expected in 2003. Though the incidence and mortality rate has declined among Caucasians, both trends have increased among African-Americans, particularly men, has increased.

These racial differences are poorly understood, the researchers said. Several studies point to age, advanced stage of disease at diagnosis, inaccurate staging, and differences in treatment between racial groups as being possible factors.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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