Screening for colon cancer; Colonoscopy - screening; Sigmoidoscopy - screening; Virtual colonoscopy - screening; Fecal immunochemical test; Stool DNA test; sDNA test; Colorectal cancer - screening; Rectal cancer - screening
Colon cancer screening can detect polyps and early cancers in the large intestine. This type of screening can find problems that can be treated before cancer develops or spreads. Regular screenings may reduce the risk for death and complications caused by colorectal cancer.
There are several ways to screen for colon cancer.
SCREENING FOR AVERAGE-RISK PEOPLE
There is not enough evidence to say which screening method is best. But, colonoscopy is most thorough. Talk to your provider about which test is right for you.
Both men and women should have a colon cancer screening test starting at age 50. Some providers recommend that African Americans begin screening at age 45.
With a recent increase in colon cancer in people in their 40s, the American Cancer Society recommends that healthy men and women start screening at age 45. Talk to your provider if you're concerned.
Screening options for people with an average risk for colon cancer:
SCREENING FOR HIGHER-RISK PEOPLE
People with certain risk factors for colon cancer may need earlier (before age 50) or more frequent testing.
More common risk factors are:
Screening for these groups is more likely to be done using colonoscopy.
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National Cancer Institute website. Colorectal cancer screening (PDQ) – health professional version. www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/hp/colorectal-screening-pdq. Updated March 17, 2020. Accessed November 13, 2020.
Rex DK, Boland CR, Dominitz JA, et al. Colorectal cancer screening: recommendations for physicians and patients from the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer. Am J Gastroenterol. 2017;112(7):1016-1030. PMID: 28555630 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28555630/.
US Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement. Colorectal cancer screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/recommendation/colorectal-cancer-screening. Published June 15, 2016. Accessed April 18, 2020.
Wolf AMD, Fontham ETH, Church TR, et al. Colorectal cancer screening for average-risk adults: 2018 guideline update from the American Cancer Society. CA Cancer J Clin. 2018;68(4):250-281. PMID: 29846947 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29846947/.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 7/15/2020
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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