Colon Cancer Screening

What should I know about colorectal cancer screening?

A screening test is used to look for a disease when a person has no symptoms. (When a person has symptoms, diagnostic tests are used to find out the cause of the symptoms).

Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also detect colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment works best.

If you are between the ages of 50 and 75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer.

Most new cases of colorectal cancer (about 90%) occur in people 50 years of age or older.

Millions of people are not getting recommended screenings. They are missing the opportunity to prevent colorectal cancer or detect it early, when treatment often leads to a cure.

If you think you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer, know your family medical history and ask your doctor if you should begin screening before age 50.

However, you may need to be tested before age 50, or more often than others,

You or a close relative has had colorectal polyps.
A close relative has had colorectal cancer.
You have an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
You have a genetic syndrome such as adenomatous polyposis.
You have a family history of hereditary colorectal cancer without polyposis (Lynch syndrome).

Talk to your specialist about:

When to start screening?

Which test is right for you?

How often to get tested?