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What tests can screen for colon cancer?

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Tests can help detect colon cancer early. How often you're screened depends on which tests you get and its results. Common tests include:

Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy can also help prevent cancer. During these, your doctor may find and remove precancerous polyps from your colon.

  • Colonoscopy, usually given once every 10 years
  • Fecal occult blood test, which most folks get annually
  • Sigmoidoscopy, which most get every 5 years, combined with a fecal occult blood test every 3 years
  • Multi-targeted stool DNA testing, which looks for DNA mutations that may signal an issue
  • CT colonography, which uses X-rays to take pictures of your colon. The pictures are then put together by computer to help your doctor see if anything’s wrong.

SOURCES:

AARP: "What Health Screenings Do You Really Need if You Are Over Age 50?"

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: "Women: Stay Healthy at 50+."

American Diabetes Association: "Diabetes Statistics."

American Psychological Association: "Aging and Depression."

American Heart Association.

American Cancer Society.

CDC: "Leading Causes of Death."

National Cancer Institute: "General Information About Colon Cancer."

National Institute of Mental Health: "Older Adults: Depression and Suicide Facts (Fact Sheet)."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Prevent Cancer Foundation: "Frequently Asked Questions: Exactly what is a 'pre-cancerous' polyp? If the polyp is removed, does that mean I am cured?"

John Hopkins University: "Cervical Cancer."

CDC.

American Cancer Society: “Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests.”

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: “Osteoporosis: Screening.”

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: “Screening for Colorectal Cancer: Consumer Guide.”

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on September 17, 2018

SOURCES:

AARP: "What Health Screenings Do You Really Need if You Are Over Age 50?"

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: "Women: Stay Healthy at 50+."

American Diabetes Association: "Diabetes Statistics."

American Psychological Association: "Aging and Depression."

American Heart Association.

American Cancer Society.

CDC: "Leading Causes of Death."

National Cancer Institute: "General Information About Colon Cancer."

National Institute of Mental Health: "Older Adults: Depression and Suicide Facts (Fact Sheet)."

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Prevent Cancer Foundation: "Frequently Asked Questions: Exactly what is a 'pre-cancerous' polyp? If the polyp is removed, does that mean I am cured?"

John Hopkins University: "Cervical Cancer."

CDC.

American Cancer Society: “Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests.”

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: “Osteoporosis: Screening.”

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: “Screening for Colorectal Cancer: Consumer Guide.”

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson on September 17, 2018

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Why do women 50 and older need a pap test?

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