Black and Latino individuals are more likely to develop colorectal cancer (CRC) and die of the disease compared with most other population groups. One key contributor to this racial and ethnic disparity is the low rate of colorectal cancer screening, now recommended for all adults 45 and up, among these minorities. This is why Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) joined forces with Hip Hop Public Health to raise awareness of colorectal cancer and the need for African Americans and Latinos to get screened early.

The public service announcements (PSAs) are delivered in English and Spanish in the form of 30- and 60-second animated music videos and audio clips that recommend early testing and cutting back on smoking and consumption of alcohol and unhealthy food.

Chuck D, the front man for the group Public Enemy and a Hip Hop Public Health board member, produced and recorded the PSAs in English, while rapper Pete Colon, a Hip Hop Public Health ambassador, recorded the Spanish version of the ads, composed by Q Worthy, a multiplatinum producer.

“I’m honored to be a small part of the important work that Hip Hop Public Health and Stand Up To Cancer are doing,” said Chuck D. “Hip-hop has a powerful voice, and we’re using it to help make the community better, to try to get people to pay attention, to stay healthy and to catch things early instead of reading about it when it’s too late.”

His counterpart echoed his sentiments. “It’s important for me to use my voice to increase awareness of colorectal cancer’s impact on the Hispanic community. This disease is one of the most diagnosed cancers among Hispanics in the United States,” said Colon. “Through this collaboration, we have the power to raise awareness on the critical importance of getting screened, because early detection can help save the lives of those diagnosed.”

Sung Poblete, PhD, RN, and CEO of SU2C, stressed that her organization is dedicated to helping those diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors.

“When possible, early detection through screening is critical to making this happen,” she said. “With regular screening, colorectal cancer is highly preventable as well as beatable in 90% of cases when detected early, but many Black and Hispanic Americans are not getting the recommended screening.”

A study published in the American Journal of Pathology found that African Americans have the highest rate of colorectal cancer of any ethnic group. Also, among Americans ages 50 to 75, colorectal cancer screening is lower among African Americans and Latinos.

“As the disparities in colorectal screening rates continue to increase, it’s critical to take tangible steps to address the disparities that exist in colorectal cancer screenings within the Black and Hispanic communities,” said Olajide Williams, MD, founder and board chair of Hip Hop Public Health. “Music has the power to spark change and inspire communities to take action when it comes to their health. Collaborating with Stand Up To Cancer, Chuck D and Pete Colon on this campaign, we are utilizing music to deliver the important message that regular screenings can save lives.”

To learn more about colorectal cancer, read “Catching Colorectal Cancer Early.”