Colorectal cancer disparities: issues, controversies and solutions

World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Jan 28;20(4):869-76. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i4.869.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. There are significant differences in CRC incidence and mortality by race with the highest burden occurring among blacks. The underlying factors contributing to CRC disparities are multiple and complex. Studies have suggested that a higher prevalence of putative risk factors for CRC, limited access to healthcare services, lower utilization of healthcare resources and increased biological susceptibilities contribute to this disparity by race. This article reviews the factors associated with the disproportionally higher burden of CRC among blacks; addresses the controversies regarding the age to begin CRC screening and the screening modality to use for blacks; and proffers solutions to eliminate CRC disparity by race.

Keywords: Adenomatous polyps; Colon cancer; Colonoscopy; Colorectal cancer disparities; Screening.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / ethnology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology