Colon Cancer Test -- Once May Be Enough
Single Test May Be More Acceptable to Patients
Ernest Hawk, MD, chief of gastrointestinal cancer prevention for the National Cancer Institute, says one-time screening is not likely to be as effective as routine screening. But he says there are other potential advantages to the one-time approach.
"It is amazing how fast people run when they are told they need to be screened for colorectal cancer," Hawk tells WebMD. "Certainly telling them that they only have to do it once would increase compliance. But we have to wait and see if this approach is effective."
The American Cancer Society currently recommends that men and women follow one of the following five screening options beginning at age 50:
- Yearly fecal occult blood test (FOBT) -- a test to check for blood in the stool.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years.
- Yearly FOBT plus sigmoidoscopy every five years.
- Double-contrast barium enema every five years.
- Colonoscopy every 10 years.