The Hispanic Community and Colon Cancer

Hispanic family for header October 2019

Last month we discussed the liver disease and the Hispanic community. This month we want to cover another area of concern in the Hispanic community, cancer. It is the leading cause of death among Hispanics overall. For colorectal cancer specifically, the estimated death rate is 11% in men and 9% in women*. We would like to discuss 3 reasons why this is an area of concern and what can be done to help the Hispanic community.

  1. Two of the factors that increase the risk of colorectal cancer disproportionately affect the Hispanic community. These are excess body weight and type II diabetes.
  2. There are many subgroups within the Hispanic community and this can impact risk factors. For example, Hispanics as a whole have lower rates of colorectal cancer incidences. But, among island Puerto Rican men the incidence rate was 18% higher than those for non-Hispanic whites. These differences should be taken into consideration when they seek treatment here.
  3. There is a startling difference between US-born Hispanics, long-term residents, and those foreign-born who have lived in the US for less than 15 years. The major contributor is acculturation, Acculturation is the adoption of attitudes, values, customs, beliefs, and behaviors of the host country. This can influence health both positively and negatively. Although they may have improved access to health care and preventive services, they also adopt unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and lower diet quality#. These unhealthy behaviors contribute to the increase in colorectal cancer incidences as well as other health issues.

The good news is that the incidence rates among Hispanics are lower than non-Hispanic whites at 7% for men and 16% for women#.

What has caused this decrease? Prevention and early detection.

So, going forward, what can be done to improve the health of our Hispanic community?

It is important to overcome these language barriers. It is imperative to be able to communicate with patients in Spanish throughout the entire process. We need to be able to communicate with them from appointment scheduling through to the procedure.

Someone that helps us break down the language barrier is Dr. Gonzalez. Her ancestors are from the Dominican Republic and she is fluent in Spanish. She has a message for the Hispanic community in the Piedmont. See her video below.




Are you of Hispanic descent and are affected by colon cancer? Let us know.

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Digestive Health Specialists, PA is here to help if you, or someone you know, would like more information, or if you are experiencing any digestive health symptoms and would like further evaluation. Feel free to give us a call at 336-768-6211 or fill the form below.

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