Colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Hispanic Americans men and women. According to the most recent data, in 2009, it was estimated that 5,500 Hispanic men and 4,900 Hispanic women would be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and an estimated 3,100 would die of the disease.
Hispanic Americans with colorectal cancer are more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to have their disease diagnosed at a later stage when it is more difficult to treat.
Hispanic Americans are less likely to get screened for the disease than either Non-Hispanic Whites or African Americans. Based on the most recent data of a 2005 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 32 percent of Hispanics age 50 or older had either a fecal occult blood test in the past year, a sigmoidoscopy in the past five years or colonoscopy in the past ten years.
Starting at age 50, all men and women at average risk should begin getting screened for colorectal cancer.
Some people are at higher risk for the disease because of age, lifestyle or personal or family medical histories.
Hispanic Americans should tell their health care professionals if they have personal or family histories of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps or personal histories of inflammatory bowel disease to find out when to begin colorectal cancer screening and how often to be screened.
There are many reasons people do not get screened for colorectal cancer including embarrassment to talk about the colon and about having procedures involving the colon or tests that require giving stool samples. Lack of insurance to cover the cost of tests, or never having had a health care professional recommend testing are also barriers to screening.