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Dr. Carley Ebanks Explains Colon Cancer in African Americans and the Need for
Preventive Care

by Amanda Smith

"Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States," says Dr. Carley Ebanks of Gastroenterology Associates of Central Georgia in Macon, Georgia, "and African Americans have the highest rate of spontaneously occurring colorectal cancer."

Dr. Ebanks has been practicing gastroenterology (the branch of medicine dealing with the study of disorders affecting the stomach, intestines and associated organs) in Macon and Milledgeville, Georgia since 1992, joining Gastroenterology Associates of Central Georgia in June of 2011. He graduated from Columbia University in New York in 1982 and received his MD in 1986 from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, also in New York. He served his Internal Medicine Residency from 1986-1990 and then completed his Gastroenterology Fellowship in 1992 at Nassau County Medical Center in the Bahamas. He is Board Certified in Gastroenterology and manages diseases of the intestinal tract, liver, gallbladder, hemorrhoids, ulcers, heartburn and reflux as well as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns disease. Dr, Ebanks is married to the lovely Marcia Ebanks and the couple has three children -- Daryl, Darvin and Dania.

According to Dr. Ebanks, over 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancers are diagnosed each year and over 50,000 people die from the disease. However, these numbers have been decreasing in recent years due to better and more widespread screening. There are now more than one million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States today.

Colon cancer affects African Americans more disproportionately than other ethnic groups. Black males are more likely to die from this disease than any other group in the United States. African Americans are more likely to develop colon cancer in the right colon where the disease is good at hiding and is more difficult to detect. African Americans are also more likely to develop the more aggressive form of the disease and when it is discovered, it is usually in a more advanced stage. This disparity prompted the medical profession to recommend that African Americans begin having colorectal cancer screening at age forty rather than age fifty. To date, it is unclear why African Americans are affected so much more profoundly by this deadly disease, but studies are currently underway to determine if this increased risk is due to diet, genetic factors or lack of adequate healthcare.

"Many people still fear having a colonoscopy (colon screening)," said Dr. Ebanks, "but this fear is unnecessary. All endoscopy procedures at our Endoscopy Center are done under sedation which is administered by certified nurse anesthetists and patients are very comfortable during all procedures." Gastroenterology Associates' In House Endoscopy Center has the ability to perform Upper Endoscopy, Colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy (examination of the sigmoid colon) and banding of hemorrhoids at a fraction of the cost of surrounding hospitals.

"Screening and removal of colon polyps almost always prevents colon cancer," said Dr. Ebanks. "But if untreated, these polyps almost always develop into cancer." He recommends regular screening and removal of any existing colon polyps, a healthy lifestyle that includes adequate exercise and a diet that is high in calcium and fruits and vegetables and low in red meats and processed foods.

Dr. Ebanks enjoys practicing with the well-respected longstanding GI physicians at Gastroenterology Associates of Central Georgia and participating in the cutting edge research projects that the group is conducting. All of the physicians and the friendly staff encourage the public to pay them a visit at the location below to remain colon healthy.

Gastroenterology Associates of Central Georgia
610 Third Street • Macon, Georgia 31201

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Dr. Carley Ebanks