UCLA Health expert available to discuss colorectal cancer screening, the increase in colorectal cancer in young adults, and more during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month


UCLA Health expert available to discuss colorectal cancer screening, the increase in colorectal cancer in young adults, and more during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Folasade May, MD, PhD, UCLA Health colon cancer prevention researcher and gastroenterologist, is available for interview on a variety of topics during colorectal cancer awareness month, including:

Why did the US Preventative Services Task Force lower the recommended age for first colorectal screening from 50 to 45 and why is this still important news?

“Since 1995, there has been a 45% increase in colorectal cancer diagnoses in people under the age of 50.  While researchers aren’t clear on the factors that have led to the increase, this is striking evidence that the disease is no longer just an ‘old person’s’ disease.  These new guidelines will save lives, so it’s important to get the word out,” says May.

Why is it so important to not skip colorectal cancer screenings?

“Colorectal cancer is second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, but with early detection, it’s estimated that more than half of the deaths that occur annually could be prevented.” 

Why are there disparities in colorectal cancer in people of color and what can be done about it?   

“Historically, Black and Brown people have had higher rates of uninsurance and less access to preventive care, screening, and treatment. Black individuals have the highest number of cases and the highest number of deaths from colorectal cancer.  Although the incidence of colorectal cancer is lower in Latinos than in White Americans, Latinos have a rising incidence of early onset disease, and the lowest screening rates.”

“There also has not been adequate information about why colorectal screening must be a Stand Up to Cancer priority in these populations, and access to screening tests needs to be expanded,” says May.  “UCLA Health is part of a team recently awarded an $8 million Stand Up To Cancer grant aimed at addressing healthcare disparities in colorectal cancer care and prevention nationally.

Dr. May is a MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and is also a member of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate director at the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity. Her research focuses on understanding and eliminating patient, provider and system-level barriers to colorectal cancer screening in the US and among low-income individuals, racial/ethnic minorities, and Veterans.