Journal of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care

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Lifestyle Changes and the Risk of Colorectal Cancer among Immigrants in the United Kingdom: Reflections and Lessons for Sub-Saharan Africa

JU Ejughemre, RU Ibekwe, PG Oyibo


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a public health challenge in developed countries and an emerging public health problem in developing countries. There is the established association between lifestyle and colorectal cancer globally. Scientific observations have shown low prevalence of this cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, South Asia and the Caribbean. This is not so for Australasia, North America and Western Europe where the prevalence of colorectal cancer is high. Evidence have shown that migrant populations from low risk regions to countries in North America, Europe and Australasia have an increased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) in their newly found environment as a result of lifestyle transitions as well as these populations contributing to the burden of the disease and public health challenges in their immigrant countries. More so over the past few decades, large transitions have occurred in lifestyle in the countries of origin of these migrants and these transitions reflect in epidemiological outcomes such as; changes in average stature, body composition and observed changes in disease patterns such that these developing countries that were saddled with burdens of communicable disease (CDs) are gradually acquiring non-communicable disease (NCDs) in high proportions particularly; diabetes, cancers etc; hence the double burden of disease. Importantly, as globalization and the proliferation of “Westernized” life style continues, it is becoming increasingly common to observe in these developing countries a battle with century old issues of CDs in addition to emerging health epidemics such as cancers. It is based on this that this paper through a review of literature, discusses the risk of CRC among migrants in the UK, its' impact on the health systems and lessons for sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: Life style; Transitions; Colorectal Cancer

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