Herman Cain is talking about his brush with colon cancer.

And it’s a reminder that black men are far more likely to die early. Black men have a life expectancy of 69 years, six years fewer than white men and far shorter than men of other ethnic groups.

Here are some of the most recent colorectal cancer numbers from theCenters for Disease Control:

In 2007, 62 out of every 100,000 black men in the United States were diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer, the highest rate of colorectal cancer of any US group.

Overall, men were more likely to get colorectal cancer than women — almost 53 of every 100,000 American males compared to 40 per 100,000 females.

Reporting colorectal cancer incidence rates for 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged regular colorectal cancer screening for all average risk adults 50 years and older to cut deaths from colorectal cancer.

It’s a topic that many have weighed in on over the years. Columnist DeWayne Wickham wrote this piece in 2009:

Colorectal cancer in African-American men is often discovered in its later stages not only because the lack of health care keeps many of them from going to the doctor, but also because cultural taboos cause many who have medical coverage not to respond to the early warning signs.

I was lucky. I put aside my hang-ups and, in doing so, may have saved my life. Browning didn’t fare quite as well as I did; he did have cancer. But had his cancer gone undetected, he might not have lived long enough to come before us last week to talk about the promising cancer research that he and others are doing.

Get tested if you haven’t already.

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