A report says the racial gap in colon cancer death rates is widening.

Experts partly blame lower screening rates and poor access to quality care for blacks.

According to American Cancer Society research, colon and rectal cancer death rates are now nearly 50 percent higher in blacks than in whites.

Colon cancer deaths can be prevented by early diagnosis through screening and quality care. The screening rate for whites is 50 percent compared to just 40 percent for blacks.

The gap has been growing since the mid-1970s, when colon cancer death rates for the two racial groups were nearly equal.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cancer killer in the United States. The Cancer Society estimates about 50,000 Americans will die of the disease this year.