Health disparities in colorectal cancer among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States

Christian S. Jackson, Matthew Oman, Aatish M. Patel, Kenneth J. Vega

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


In the 2010 Census, just over one-third of the United States (US) population identified themselves as being something other than being non-Hispanic white alone. This group has increased in size from 86.9 million in 2000 to 111.9 million in 2010, representing an increase of 29 percent over the ten year period. Per the American Cancer Society, racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to develop cancer and die from it when compared to the general population of the United States. This is particularly true for colorectal cancer (CRC). The primary aim of this review is to highlight the disparities in CRC among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Despite overall rates of CRC decreasing nationally and within certain racial and ethnic minorities in the US, there continue to be disparities in incidence and mortality when compared to non-Hispanic whites. The disparities in CRC incidence and mortality are related to certain areas of deficiency such as knowledge of family history, access to care obstacles, impact of migration on CRC and paucity of clinical data. These areas of deficiency limit understanding of CRC's impact in these groups and when developing interventions to close the disparity gap. Even with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, disparities in CRC screening will continue to exist until specific interventions are implemented in the context of each of racial and ethnic group. Racial and ethnic minorities cannot be viewed as one monolithic group, rather as different segments since there are variations in incidence and mortality based on natural history of CRC development impacted by gender, ethnicity group, nationality, access, as well as migration and socioeconomic status. Progress has been made overall, but there is much work to be done.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S32-S43
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Oncology
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer (CRC)
  • Disparities
  • Ethnicity
  • Minorities
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology


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