Discovery May Explain Black Americans’ Higher Colon Cancer Risk

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) – New research reveals why black Americans may be more vulnerable to colon cancer than whites.

The researchers looked at age-related “epigenetic” changes in colon tissue. These changes affect how genes work.

Investigators found that in blacks and whites, one side of the colon biologically ages faster than the other. But the side that ages faster is different depending on the breed.

In black Americans, the right side of the colon ages much faster than the left side, which could contribute to their increased risk of colon cancer, making them more likely to develop cancer of the right side of the colon and have it. cancer to a younger one, according to the authors of the study recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In whites, the left side of the colon ages faster and they are more likely to develop cancer on that side.

The study is the first to find that both sides of the colon age differently.

“These results highlight the importance of the lateral aspect of the colon for colorectal cancer biology,” said study co-lead Graham Casey, Center for Public Health Genomics at the University of Virginia.

“The fact that the colon biology of people of African and European descent differ further underscores the critical importance of more research involving the participation of people of African descent,” Casey added in an academic press release.

Black Americans are disproportionately affected by colorectal cancer, being 20% ​​more likely to develop colorectal cancer and 40% more likely to die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman has died of colorectal cancer at the age of 43.

Overall, rates of colorectal cancer in the United States have fallen in recent years, but the decline has not been as large among black Americans as it has among people of European descent. And although the overall rates have declined, the rate among young people has increased.

The study could help explain these disparities and could help scientists develop better ways to treat and prevent colorectal cancers, the researchers suggested.

According to study co-leader Dr. Li Li, head of the cancer control and population health program at the Cancer Center at the University of Virginia, “Our discovery is a step forward in our efforts. to prevent colorectal cancer and reduce racial disparities in this deadly disease. ”

More information

The US National Cancer Institute has more information on colon cancer.

SOURCE: University of Virginia, press release, January 21, 2021

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