We know colorectal cancer affects men and women equally and impacts people of all nationalities and ethnic groups. But not all are impacted the same. Did you know that many ethnic and minority groups should begin screening before age 50? Many gastroenterologists will recommend screening start at age 45 for African Americans and other minority groups.

African Americans

Colorectal Cancer Survivor in Chicago

Since the early 1990s, Black individuals have had higher incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer than all other racial/ethnic groups.

Black people are more likely than White individuals to:

  • be diagnosed with CRC under the age of 50,
  • to present with late-stage disease for which there are limited treatment options, and
  • to die within five years of a CRC diagnosis.

Barriers to screening:

  • Cultural barriers include mistrust of the medical community, high burden of cancer risk factors including diet, exercise, obesity, and underlying health conditions, and reliance on leaders/laypersons in the community for trusted information.
  • Socioecomonic barriers include low income, access to transportation, lack of health insurance, lack of medical literacy, access to care – often a barrier to those living in rural areas, discrimination within health care setting.



Asian Americans

Walkers in San FranciscoAsian Americans are the fastest growing minority group in the United States.

52% of Asian American adults between 50-75 have not been screening for colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in Asian Americans.

Risk of colorectal cancer increases greatly upon immigration to the United States.

Barriers to Screening:

  • Many are unfamiliar with colorectal cancer as disease rates in native countries is very low.
  • Cultural barriers include not wanting to look out of fear of finding something wrong, modesty, association of health care only when treating symptoms – not with prevention, and reliance and trust of Eastern verses Western medicine.
  • Logistical barriers include lack of information in native language, lack of understanding in navigating health care system, and fear of screening procedures.
Download Educational Materials in Chinese and Korean

Source: NCCRT



Survivor Frankie47% of Hispanic adults between 50-75 are not being screened for colorectal cancer.

Barriers to Screening:

  • Logistical and financial barriers include overall lack of understanding about colorectal cancer and prevention, and low income and lack of health insurance.
  • Cultural barriers include misconceptions about Western medicine, and language barrier in both communicating with medical staff and medical literature.
  • Fear of cancer and fear of procedure present barriers because talking about disease and death is culturally taboo, there is a priority of family health and well-being above their own health, and general mistrust of the medical community and information provided by doctors.
Download Educational Materials in Spanish

Source: NCCRT


American Indians and Alaska Natives

Faces of Blue: Robert DesjarlaitColon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for American Indian and Alaska Native people. Among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), fewer than half are current with colorectal cancer screening.

Colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer, and second deadliest cancer in AI/NA.

Barriers to Screening:

  • Living in rural and isolated communities is a barrier to screening access.
  • Higher burden of cancer risk factors include high rate of tobacco use, high rate of alcohol use, diet high in animal fats and low in whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and inactivity, obesity, and prevalence of diabetes.
  • Individual barriers include limited awareness of cancer risks, screening options, mistrust of the medical community, and fear of screening.
  • Community and system barriers include lack of funding for tribal health clinics, high rates of poverty, lack of health insurance, limited programs to provide preventative care.


Download Informational Card for AI/AN

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