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You and Your Health

What Hispanics Should Know About Colon Cancer

What Hispanics Should Know About Colon Cancer

Photo: Hispanic Access Foundation

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Colon or colorectal cancer is the second leading type of cancer among men and women of Latino descent. While males are slightly more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer, women are also at risk.

The risk for cancer, including colon cancer, is higher for Hispanics living in the U.S. than in other Spanish-speaking countries, due to factors such as high-fat diets and more sedentary lifestyles. One of the most important risk factors is family history of the disease, so be sure to let your doctor know about your health background.

There are certain steps everyone can take to lower their colorectal cancer risk, including:

  * drinking less alcohol
  * eating less fat and red meat
  * increasing calcium intake
  * exercising
  * regular screening

Both men and women over 50 should get screened for colon cancer annually. Despite lower occurrences of colon cancer compared to other groups, Hispanics are more likely to be diagnosed with more advanced stages of colon cancer. This is due in part because Hispanics have very low colorectal cancer screening rates.  Colon cancer can be treated successfully if detected early, so make sure to ask your doctor for the necessary screening tests, including a colonoscopy.

The Hispanic Access Foundation is committed to helping Hispanics in America live better, healthier lives. We provide a searchable online database of healthcare services for Hispanics in communities across the nation. To search this database for centers near you, click here.

For the statistics supplied in this article as well as other facts about colon and other cancers, visit: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@nho/documents/document/ffhispanicslatinos20092011.pdf

Other helpful sites are: http://www.cdc.gov, http://www.coloncancerfoundation.org/, and http://www.cancer.gov/