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How often should you get checked for colorectal cancer?

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If you have an average risk for colorectal cancer, no symptoms, and no personal or family history of colorectal polyps or cancer or inflammatory bowel disease, you should start getting tested at age 50 with one of these:

Colonoscopy is the preferred test. The other tests may miss things, and if anything abnormal is found, you'll need a colonoscopy.

If you're at a higher risk for cancer, you'll probably need to start getting colonoscopies sooner. When and how often will depend on what's making you more likely to get colorectal cancer.

  • Stool tests (fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test) once a year at home, or a stool DNA test every 3 years
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years as an outpatient
  • Colonoscopy once every 10 years
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every five years

From: Colorectal Cancer WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: The Cleveland Clinic Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. American Cancer Society. The Centers for Disease Control. American Association of Family Physicians. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on October 23, 2017

SOURCES: The Cleveland Clinic Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. American Cancer Society. The Centers for Disease Control. American Association of Family Physicians. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on October 23, 2017

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