LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — African Americans die at a higher rate from colon cancer and it’s especially true for people in the Arkansas Delta region.

A new study hopes to reverse that.

UAMS researcher Dr. Eryn Matich is on a mission hoping to find out why more African Americans die from colon cancer.

She’s looking at where they live, and what they eat, specifically the Arkansas Delta region.

“You drive down some of the main streets and you’ll see all sorts of fast-food restaurants but there won’t be a grocery store for 30 minutes,” Dr. Matich said.

The belief is that fast food and processed food diets are leading to higher mortality rates.

“We believe that this is associated with lower-income communities in these regions and their lower access to healthy food,” Dr. Matich said

Studies show nationwide African Americans die at a higher rate from colon cancer than any other group.

In some areas including the Arkansas Delta Region, the mortality rates are 40% higher than national numbers.

Dr. Matich is currently studying stool samples from people who have had colonoscopies at UAMS in the last two years and she hopes her research could inspire bringing more healthy foods choices to low-income communities.  

The results of this study might lead to an even larger national study, and better colon cancer outcomes.

To get more information or to be part of this study call 501-526-5903.