Colorectal cancer in African Americans has an increased incidence and mortality relative to Whites. The mean age of CRC development in African Americans is younger than that of Whites. There is also evidence for a more proximal colonic distribution of cancers and adenomas in African Americans. African Americans are less likely to have undergone diagnostic testing and screening for colorectal cancer. Special efforts are needed to improve colorectal cancer screening participation rates in African Americans. Clinical gastroenterologists should play an active role in educating the public and primary care physicians about special issues surrounding colorectal cancer in African Americans. Community healthcare groups and gastrointestinal specialists should develop culturally sensitive health education programs for African Americans regarding colorectal cancer. The high incidence and younger age at presentation of colorectal cancer in African Americans warrant initiation of colorectal cancer screening at the age 45 yr rather than 50 yr.
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