Colorectal cancer (CRC) is diagnosed in younger persons in a significantly higher proportion of minority groups in the United States compared with non-Hispanic whites, according to a data analysis published in Cancer Medicine.1

In this study, the researchers analyzed disparities in CRC diagnoses among African Americans, Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaska Natives compared with non-Hispanic whites.

They performed frequency and rate analysis on CRC demographics and incidence based on race/ethnicity using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database for 1973 to 2009 and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) dataset from 1995 to 2009. They also used the SEER database to analyze stage, grade, and survival based on race/ethnicity.

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The findings revealed that median age at diagnosis is significantly younger in Hispanics (66 years), Asians/Pacific Islanders (68 years), American Indians/Alaska Natives (64 years), and African Americans (64 years) compared with non-Hispanic whites (72 years).

The proportion of those younger than 50 years at diagnosis is 12% for Asians/Pacific Islanders, 15.4% for Hispanics, 16.5% for American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 11.9% for African Americans. The proportion of non-Hispanic whites who are younger than 50 years at diagnosis is only 6.7% (P<.0001).

In addition, CRC is at more advanced stages at diagnosis in minority groups than in non-Hispanic whites. Age-adjusted incidence rates of CRC diagnosed in persons younger than 50 years was seen to have significantly increased in all racial and ethnic groups but remain stable in African Americans. Analysis of NAACCR dataset from 1995 to 2009 covering nearly the entire United States confirms these results.

“Further studies are needed to identify the causes and risk factors responsible for young onset CRC among minority groups and to develop intervention strategies including earlier CRC screening, among others,” reported the researchers.


1. Rahman R, Schmaltz C, Jackson CS, Simoes EJ, Jackson-Thompson J, Ibdah JA. Increased risk for colorectal cancer under age 50 in racial and ethnic minorities living in the United States. Cancer Med. 2015;4(12):1863-1870. Accessed January 13, 2016.