Even when they have a family history of colon cancer, black people are much less likely than white people to get colonoscopies, new research suggests.

A study published in the March 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found that of black participants who had close relatives who’d been diagnosed with colon cancer, only 27.3 percent had a colonoscopy in the past five years, compared with 43.1 percent of white participants.

It is recommended that individuals having any family members who have been diagnosed with colon cancer get a colonoscopy every five years after turning 40. A family history of colon cancer increases individual risk by two to four times.  

The researchers say a major reason people don’t get colonoscopies is that they don’t receive a referral from their doctor. On your next visit, talk to your doctor about your family history of colon cancer, and inquire about your risk for developing the disease.