By Dr. Matthew D. Ashmun
Lexington Clinic Gastroenterologist

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer death for men and women combined. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year alone about 140,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease and more than 50,000 will die because of it.

According to the American Cancer Society, CRC rates have dropped 30% in the U.S. in the last 10 years, thanks in large part to colonoscopies. During this procedure providers get a close look at the entire colon, allowing them to spot and remove any polyps or take tissue samples. These polyps are tiny growths that can develop into cancer over time.

A colonoscopy is recommended every ten years for both men and women with average risk, starting at age 50. However, there are other factors that could increase your risk for CRC and your need for a colonoscopy including:
  • Family history of colon cancer or colon polyps
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • Diets high in red meats (beef, pork, lamb, liver); processed meats; or meats cooked at high temperatures
  • Smoking/tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol use

Routine colonoscopies can help detect and prevent CRC and save lives in the process. To learn more about your individual risk for developing colorectal cancer or to schedule your own colonoscopy, please call (859) 258-4950 today or visit us at

Matthew D. Ashmun, MD is board-certified in Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine. He provides services in diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy including: colonoscopy with biopsy and polypectomy; upper endoscopy with biopsy; band ligation of varices; dilation of esophagus and pylorus; argon plasma coagulation/ablation angiodysplasia; wireless small bowel capsule endoscopy (Pillcam); flexible sigmoidoscopy with biopsy and polypectomy.