Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.
Colon Cancer: Which Screening Test Should I Have?
Why It Is Done
- Check for colorectal cancer or polyps.
- This test is recommended by the American
Cancer Society (ACS), the American College of Gastroenterologists (ACG), the
American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), and the U.S. Preventive
Services Task Force (USPSTF).
- These groups recommend routine
testing for people age 50 and older who have a normal risk for colorectal
- Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you have a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor about when you should be tested.
- Check for the cause of blood in the stool or
- Check for the cause of dark or black
- Check for the cause of chronic diarrhea.
for the cause of
iron deficiency anemia.
- Check for the
cause of sudden, unexplained weight loss.
- Check the colon after
abnormal results from a CT scan, MRI, virtual colonoscopy, stool test, or barium enema.
- Watch or treat
inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
for the cause of long-term, unexplained belly pain.
How To Prepare
Before you have a colonoscopy, tell
your doctor if you:
- Are taking any medicines, such as
insulin or medicines for
arthritis. Check with your doctor about which
medicines you need to take on the day of your test.
- Are allergic to
any medicines, including
- Have bleeding problems or
take aspirin or other blood thinners.
- Had an X-ray test using barium, such as a barium enema, in the
last 4 days.
- Are or might be pregnant.
You may be asked to stop taking aspirin products or iron
supplements 7 to 14 days before the test. If you take blood-thinning medicines
regularly, discuss with your doctor how to manage your medicine.
You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the
risks of the test and agree to have it done.