Colon and rectal cancer death rates are now nearly 50 percent higher in blacks than in whites, according to American Cancer Society research being released Monday. The gap has been growing since the mid-1970s, when colon cancer death rates for the two racial groups were nearly equal.
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer killer in the United States. About 50,000 Americans will die of the disease this year, the cancer society estimates. The rate of diagnoses in blacks was about 19 percent higher than it was for whites in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available. The death rate difference was even more pronounced. Among blacks, there were about 25 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 17 per 100,000 in whites - a 48 percent difference.