Out of any other racial group, African American men have the lowest five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer (CRC). A major factor contributing to this dire situation is low adherence to recommended early detection screening, like colonoscopy and home-based stool testing kits. Yet, published research on effective strategies to increase screening for this group specifically are minimal.
In light of the unexpected death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman from CRC at age 43, Rogers and his team also emphasize the critical need for more research in African Americans younger than age 45, due to more young adults both getting the preventable disease and dying from it.
Charles R. Rogers, Ph.D., MPH, MS, MCHES, led the study. The researchers set out to understand the state of research on interventions to increase CRC screening uptake in African American men. The researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. They reviewed 41 studies published between 1998 and 2020 that examined adherence to CRC early detection methods and screening recommendations. Of these, only two studies focused exclusively on African American men.
The research group is currently assessing the influence of numerous factors on CRC screening uptake. Some examples are, poor patient-provider communication, masculinity barriers to medical care, health problem minimization, and medical mistrust. Rogers’ team also evaluates social determinants of health in men, including lack of insurance, racism, and limited social support.
“African American men continue to suffer the most from CRC incidence and mortality across all racial groups and genders. Advancing CRC prevention and early detection-focused research among African American men will provide critical insights perhaps including why we need to adjust current screening recommendations and will undoubtedly save lives,” Rogers added.