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Preventing Colon Cancer in African Americans with Earlier Screening

In observance of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, HealthTalk is featuring a University of Minnesota researcher working to reduce the harm caused by colon cancer in the African American community.

Colon cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death for men and women in the United States, but African Americans bear the greatest burden. This is why one University of Minnesota researcher is calling for lowering the age at which African Americans have a routine colonoscopy.

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Colon cancer screenings put through paces in new study

New research from the University of Minnesota Medical School has shed new light on the successes and shortcomings of colon cancer screening.

The study, led by Aasma Shaukat, M.D., M.P.H., appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine September 19. To arrive at their results, Shaukat and her team used data from the Minnesota Colon Cancer Control Study, which had more than 46,000 participants ranging from 50 to 80 years of age.

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U of M surgeon compares colon cancer treatments in rural vs. urban areas

Colon cancer patients living in rural areas are less likely to receive an early diagnosis, chemotherapy or thorough surgical treatment compared to patients living in urban areas, according to a recent study led by Christopher J. Chow, MD, a surgical resident at the University of Minnesota.

Chow found rural residents are 5 percent more likely to die from their colon cancer than urban patients. He believes surgeons treating both rural and urban patients should start targeting rural patients to ensure they receive care as high quality as urban patients.

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