Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

November 2014


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of mortality due to cancer (with over 50,000 deaths annually), representing 9% of all cancer deaths in the United States (1). In particular, the African-American CRC mortality rate is among the highest reported for any race/ethnic group. Meanwhile, the CRC mortality rate for Hispanics is 15–19% lower than that for non-Hispanic Caucasians (2). While factors such as obesity, age, and socio-economic status are known to associate with CRC mortality, do these and other potential factors correlate with CRC death in the same way across races? This research linked CRC mortality data obtained from the National Cancer Institute with data from the United States Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Solar Radiation Database to examine geographic and racial/ethnic differences, and develop a spatial regression model that adjusted for several factors that may attribute to health disparities among ethnic/racial groups. This analysis showed that sunlight, obesity, and socio-economic status were significant predictors of CRC mortality. The study is significant because it not only verifies known factors associated with the risk of CRC death but, more importantly, demonstrates how these factors vary within different racial groups. Accordingly, education on reducing risk factors for CRC should be directed at specific racial groups above and beyond creating a generalized education plan.


This work was originally published in Frontiers in Public Health, available at doi:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00239.



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