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Quick Uptakes
May 22/29, 2002

Poverty and Colon Cancer

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JAMA. 2002;287(20):2645. doi:10.1001/jama.287.20.2645

African Americans living in poverty are at greater risk than the general population of dying from colon cancer—even though the overall mortality rate for the disease is falling, said researchers in the May 1 issue of Cancer.

Investigators at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University reviewed 615 patients treated for colorectal cancer at New York City's Harlem Hospital from 1973 to 1992. Of these patients, 97% were African American and almost all were impoverished. The 5-year relative survival rate for these patients was 19.7%—substantially lower than the national average for the same period. In comparison, the 5-year survival rate was 52.4% in 1992 for all African American patients and 61.5% for all Americans.

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