Colorectal Cancer - Prevention
Screening for colorectal cancer
Some tests can prevent
colorectal cancer. Screening tests look for a certain
disease or condition before any symptoms appear. Experts recommend routine
colon cancer testing for everyone age 50 and older who has a normal risk for
colon cancer. Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you have a higher risk for colon cancer. Talk to
your doctor about when you should be tested.
Fewer than half of
people who are older than 50 are screened for colorectal cancer. According to
the American Cancer Society, if everyone were tested, tens of thousands of
lives could be saved each year.
The following guidelines are for
people who do not have an increased risk for colorectal
Colorectal cancer screening guidelines for people 50 and older at average risk
test,* such as the
fecal occult blood test (FOBT), fecal
immunochemical test (FIT), or stool DNA test (sDNA)
Every year for the FOBT and FIT
Every 5 years for sDNA
| Every 5 years|
| Every 10 years|
Computed tomographic colonography (CTC), also called a virtual colonoscopy
combining a stool test with a sigmoidoscopy.
Recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
- People ages 50 to 75 should have a fecal occult blood test
(FOBT), sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy.
- People who have a sigmoidoscopy every 5 years should also have a stool test (FOBT) at regular intervals.
- Some people older than 75
may benefit from screening tests. Others may not. Talk to your doctor about
continuing testing for colon cancer after age 75.
Recommendations from other groups
- The American Cancer Society (ACS), the American
Gastroenterological Association (AGA), and the American College of
Gastroenterologists (ACG) recommend routine testing for people age 50 and older
who have an average risk for colon cancer. Your doctor may advise being tested sooner or more often if you have a higher risk for colon cancer. Talk to your doctor about when you should be tested.
For more information, see:
- Colon Cancer: Which Screening Test Should I Have?