In a review of medical records researchers say that African-Americans are more susceptible to Colon cancer at an earlier age than whites.
The new study also suggests they are more likely to have tumors that respond well to treatment if caught early.
Dr. Emmanuel Akinyemi and his associates reviewed the medical records of 177 patients with colorectal cancer treated at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, which, according to Akinyemi, serves a multi-ethnic population.
They apparently found that there were no major differences based on gender, but the researchers say that the mean age at presentation was 69 years for Caucasians, but only 63 years for African-Americans.
Akinyemi says this reinforces the new guidelines that advise screening African Americans for Colon cancer should start at 45.
However the investigators also found that 42 percent of the bowel cancers in African-Americans were of the type that tend to be less aggressive.
Akinyemi stresses the importance of screening at an early age, because when these tumors are detected early the prognosis may be very good.
The team reported their findings this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology.
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD