While all men and women should begin regular colon cancer screenings at age 50, there is a group who researchers say could definitely benefit from earlier screenings.

African Americans are at a higher risk for this cancer than other populations. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US for men and women combined, but 90 percent of all cases are preventable by removing polyps before they become cancer. This is why screenings and early detection are so important.

For African Americans, there may be genetic factors that contribute to the higher incidence of colon cancer. They also experience a larger number of polyps on the right side of the colon versus the left. A colonoscopy will be able to see the entire colon and if detected early, polyps can be removed before they become cancerous.

It is very important for African Americans to know their family history. If family history shows colorectal polyps, colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, talk with your doctor about early screening. Screenings save lives! The doctors at Asheville Gastro are here to discuss any concerns you may have.