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Colon Polyps More Common in Hispanic Men Than Women

SUNDAY May 2, 2010 -- Among Hispanics, men are twice as likely as women to have colon polyps and are also more likely to have multiple polyps, a new study in Puerto Rico has found.

The researchers also found that the study patients older than 60 were 56 percent more likely to have polyps than those younger than 60.

Polyps are growths in the large intestine. Some polyps may already be cancerous or can become cancerous.

The study included 647 patients aged 50 and older undergoing colorectal cancer screening at a gastroenterology clinic in Puerto Rico. In 70 percent of patients with polyps, the growths were on the right side of the colon. In white patients, polyps are typically found on the left side of the colon. This difference may result from underlying molecular differences in the two patient groups, said study author Dr. Marcia Cruz-Correa, an associate professor of medicine and biochemistry at the University of Puerto Rico Cancer Center.

The finding about polyp location is important because it highlights the need to use colonoscopy when conducting colorectal cancer screening in Hispanics. This is the most effective method of detecting polyps on the right side of the colon.

The study was to be presented Sunday at the Digestive Diseases Week meeting in New Orleans.

"Colorectal cancer screening rates among Hispanics are dangerously low. Currently only 40 percent get screened despite the fact that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death among Hispanic women. As Hispanics become more acculturated to the U.S. lifestyle, they are losing the protective factor of their diet, which may account for the higher rates of colorectal cancer seen in U.S. Hispanics compared to the expected rates of cancer in their country of origin," Cruz-Correa said.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about colorectal cancer screening.

Posted: May 2010


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