Are You At Risk For Colon Cancer?
The following cancer screening American Cancer Society guidelines are recommended for those people at average risk for cancer (unless otherwise specified) and without any specific symptoms. People who are at increased risk for certain cancers may need to follow a different screening schedule, such as starting at an earlier age or being screened more often. Those with symptoms that could be related to cancer should see their doctor right away.
Colon and rectal cancer
Beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should use one of the screening tests below. The tests that are designed to find both early cancer and polyps are preferred if these tests are available to you and you are willing to have one of these more invasive tests. Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you.
Tests that find polyps and cancer:
- flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years*
- colonoscopy every 10 years
- double contrast barium enema every 5 years*
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years*
Tests that mainly find cancer:
- fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year*,**
- fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year*,**
- stool DNA test (sDNA), interval uncertain*
People should talk to their doctor about starting colorectal cancer screening earlier and/or being screened more often if they have any of the following colorectal cancer risk factors:
- a personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
- a personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
- a strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps (cancer or polyps in a first-degree relative [parent, sibling, or child] younger than 60 or in 2 or more first-degree relatives of any age)
- a known family history of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)
* A colonoscopy should be done if test results are positive.
**For FOBT or FIT used as a screening test, the take-home multiple sample method should be used.
A FOBT or FIT done during a digital rectal exam in the doctor’s office is not adequate for screening.
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/