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For some, colon cancer screening before age 50

Carol Carr's diagnosis of colorectal cancer at age 44 ("Colon cancer rises for young," July 30) underscores the point that even though current national guidelines for average risk individuals call for colon screening to start at age 50, there are important exceptions. Anyone experiencing symptoms like Ms. Carr's should talk to a gastroenterologist.

African-Americans fall into a high-risk category and are another exception to the rule to start screening at age 50. The American College of Gastroenterology in its official screening guidelines recommends that African-Americans should start younger — at age 45 — because they face a higher incidence of colorectal cancer generally, have more cancers in the right side of the colon, as well as potentially more aggressive tumors.

Dr. Michael E. Cox, Baltimore

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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