Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women. Additionally, it is the second most common cause of death from cancer. However, colorectal cancer can be prevented. Furthermore, it is one of the most preventable cancers. For the best prevention, you should engage in healthy habits and get a colorectal cancer screening at least every 10 years.
Who needs to be screened for colon cancer?
Everyone should be screened for colon cancer at some point in their lives.
The average adult should begin screenings at age 50 unless you have a family history, inflammatory bowel disease or genetic disorder. In May 2018, the American Cancer Society recommended that everyone should begin screenings at age 45. However, most insurance companies do not cover colon cancer screening tests at this age yet. Furthermore, African Americans should begin screening at age 45. If you have a first-degree family member (mother, father, sister or brother) diagnosed at age 60 or younger, you should have your first colonoscopy 10 years prior to when they were diagnosed, or at age 40—whichever happens first.
For example, if you have a brother diagnosed with colon cancer at age 35, you should get screened at 25.
Colorectal cancer screening tests
Your primary care physician can order multiple options for screening tests.
- Hemoccult or FIT stool tests detect microscopic blood (performed once per year).
- Cologuard® stool tests detect DNA shed from polyps and cancers (performed every three years).
- Virtual colonoscopy (performed every five years).
- Sigmoidoscopy (performed every five years).
Colorectal cancer prevention
The best option for colorectal cancer screening and prevention is to have a colonoscopy performed by a gastroenterologist or surgeon every 10 years. Ask your Women’s Care provider about colorectal cancer screening or contact Women’s Care gastroenterologist, Dr. Donna Powell, at 813-392-1900.