LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — March is Colorectal Cancer awareness month.
While the screening age for colon cancer is now 45, health experts are reporting a rise in cases in younger people, especially African Americans.
According to the American Cancer Society, "African Americans are about 20% more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40% more likely to die from it than most other groups."
While the age to screen for colorectal cancer is 50 years old, it's becoming more common in people under the age of 50.
Dr. Roger Hsiung is the chief of colorectal surgery at Summerlin Hospital and founder of Colon and Rectal Clinic of Las Vegas. He also is an assistant professor at UNLV in the department of surgery.
Hsiung says the age for colon and rectal screenings should be lower, and that he sees a disparity affecting the Black community.
"Colon cancer is the second highest mortality cancer on the globe," Hsiung said. "In 2020, there were 150,000 people diagnosed with colon cancer, and 50,000 died."
Hsiung says African Americans have the highest mortality rate among all the ethnic groups in the United States.
Many factors can play a role in the increasing number of Black people diagnosed with colon cancer, including genetics, social economics and fair access to healthcare.
While closing the gap in health care disparities is an uphill battle, early detection is still key.
To find out more about colon cancer, click here.
Dr. Hsiung is located at 6080 S. Durango Dr. #105 in Las Vegas.