A Tulane University professor has found Acadiana has some of the highest colorectal cancer rates in the US.
The study show rates were dis-proportionately high among the French-Acadian region or Cajun population. Around three thousand cases were found compared to about 11,700 statewide.
Gastroenterologist Dr. Christopher Herrington says the recent study shows the rate of colon cancer in south Louisiana to be 25% higher – than the rest of the country. Herrington adds even more alarming the rate is 30% higher for patients under 50 .
Herrington says, “We’re not clear as to why that is but it seems to be some link between the genes and in the Cajun population versus some environmental risk factor we just haven’t identified.”
The recommended age for screening is age 50 and 45 for African Americans. Kathy Dugas has spent 19 years checking-in patients in need of surgery.
She gives her advice by saying, “It’s so much easier to do the prep and screen for colon cancer and come here when its too late and its already turned into cancer.”
Dr. Herrington confirms it’s not known whether those with a Cajun lineage should screen earlier. The study only shows a link and an increased rate of cases. Symptoms that are serious signs of colon cancer include weight loss and bleeding.