Colon Cancer Screenings
45+? Get screened.
The vast majority of new cases of colorectal cancer (about 90%) occur in people who are 45 or older. However, millions of people in the United States are not getting screened as recommended. Colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer, and regular screenings help find it early, when treatment often leads to a cure.
The American Cancer Society recommends those 45 or older begin screening. Those with a family or personal history of colorectal cancer, personal history of an inflammatory bowel disease, family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome or who have had radiation in the abdomen or stomach area to treat a prior cancer should talk with their primary care provider about whether screening earlier may be appropriate.
Colon cancer screening options include:
- STOOL TESTS: At-home tests like FIT, gFOBT and FIT–DNA look for blood or altered DNA in the stool.
- FLEXIBLE SIGMOIDOSCOPY: Gives your doctor a good view of the lower third of your colon.
- COLONOSCOPY: Lets the doctor view the entire colon and remove most polyps and some cancers. It is performed in the doctor’s office.
- VIRTUAL COLONOSCOPY:Uses x-rays to let a doctor see images of the colon on a computer screen.
To find out which screening is right for you, talk with your primary care provider. As part of the screening process, all positive results on non-colonoscopy screening tests should be followed up with a timely colonoscopy, according to the American Cancer Society.