Black people have a higher risk of colorectal cancer than white people, but the risk is likely not due to biology. A team of researchers at Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, adds more data to this fact. Dr. Thomas Imperiale, Regenstrief Institute research scientist, says lifestyle, acceptance of screening and other healthcare-related behaviors may explain some of the difference. Researchers looked at more than 90,000 veterans who underwent a colonoscopy at 18 VA facilities during a seven-year period. In the overall study population, Black veterans had a higher prevalence of colorectal cancer, after adjustment for age and gender. However, in a subgroup of people who got routine screenings, the risk was equal for Black patients and white patients, which suggests that the difference is is likely biological. Imperiale says it could be that Black patients are not getting screened, as suggested by guidelines, or that they respond to early symptoms differently, perhaps delaying seeking treatment for symptoms of colorectal cancer longer than white patients do. Screening, he says, is one of the most powerful tools for preventing or detecting colorectal cancer early, when it is curable. Regenstrief Research Scientist NiCole Keith says often, Black patients do not have access to screening or the ability to attend an appointment. Historically, this population has also had trust issues with health care, all of which could contribute to these disparities, she says. We need to develop a way to make these important tests more accessible to everyone and improve trust in health care, Keith says.
In other news, when operating a business, there are many steps owners need to take to make sure they are successful. One of the most important, and increasingly necessary, steps is protecting your business, and yourself, from cyber attacks. IU Cybesecurity expert Fred Cate says there are four steps businesses can take to help protect themselves. First, watch e-mail attachments. Look out for phishing scams and be skeptical of what emails you open. Second, use strong complex passwords. Additionally, employers should watch employee access. Make sure employees have good cyber hygiene and block people who no longer work at the business. Finally, have cybersecurity protection like antiviral software. Update your programs, but make sure those updates you see on your computer are legitimate first. Small businesses could be big targets. Cate says there is malware out there that is constantly launching attacks and looking for vulnerability. Every successful cyberattack we have seen this decade has been using a vulnerability for which we already had a patch, Cate says. In fact, he says if people just installed the patch there would be no vulnerability left. Attackers may want into your system not because they care about your business but they want to use your system to attack somebody else, he says. Small businesses should recognize that cyber risk could be greater than having cash in your cash register. Cate says businesses should always take time to back up their information because it will save them if they are hacked or held up by ransomware.