The campaign in the African American community
African Americans have a higher rate* of colorectal cancer diagnoses (57) than the average of all races in the state (49). There are also higher rates of death (20) compared to the average of all races in the state (18).
Colorectal cancer can also be found at younger ages among the African American community. That’s why screening is recommended at age 45, compared to 50, and potentially earlier depending on a person’s family history.
There are three recommended screening options from the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce: a stool test (FOBT or FIT), flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. A sigmoidoscopy allows doctors to check for polyps inside the rectum or lower third of the colon. It is, therefore, not a recommended screening for African Americans who often have polyps in the upper thirds of the colon.
To help increase screening rates among African Americans, OHA is partnering with the The Steve Baker Colorectal Cancer Alliance (SBCCA) and Men’s Health Project – Community Messengers, two community partners in the Portland metro area that already work closely with African Americans on this issue.
As the campaign evolves we will engage the African American faith community in the conversation and share information about the importance of screening.
*Rates are per 100,000, Oregon State Cancer Registry, 2006.
My dad was diagnosed with colorectal cancer when he was 67 and died from it eight months later. He never got a colonoscopy. As a result, my brother, sister and I all get regular colonoscopies and have all had precancerous polyps removed. These screenings REALLY save lives!
Clatsop County has the second highest mortality rate with colorectal cancer in the state and that’s just one more reason I’m sharing my story. It’s so important that people talk about their experience because it makes people more at ease with the idea of a colonoscopy and encourages others to go in and get screened.
Nancy Magathan – Astoria