Pat Maryland

African-Americans have the highest incidence and mortality rates for colorectal cancer, and Patricia A. Maryland, Dr.PH, President, Healthcare Operations and Chief Operating Officer, Ascension Healthcare, is raising awareness of the problem.

In a new column for Black Press USA, Pat notes that African-Americans are about 25 percent more likely than whites to be diagnosed with this type of cancer, and about 50 percent more likely to die from it. “This is particularly troubling when considering that, in many cases, colorectal cancer can be prevented and is highly treatable, if it’s detected early, according to the American Cancer Society,” she writes.

One of the causes, she says, is that minorities lag behind in screenings – for which both patients and providers bear some responsibility.

Pat calls for more early and proactive colorectal screening, but cautions that the particular needs of each patient need to be considered.

“…healthcare providers must treat each patient in a way that takes into account all of the influences on their health. This includes their race and ethnicity, which in the case of colorectal cancer is a critical factor in determining whether a physician should recommend a colonoscopy, when a patient’s screening should start and concerns a doctor should address about the procedure,” she says.

Click here to read her column.