Colon Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Talk to your doctor about getting screened today.

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It includes cancers found in the large intestine (colon) and rectum (the lower part of the large bowel). Colon cancer often starts as a small polyp, a growth tissue. Some polyps can become cancer if not removed.

Colon cancer often has no symptoms, especially in its early stages. If there are symptoms, they are likely to include:

  • Dark blood in or on your stool (solid waste when you go to the bathroom)
  • Changes in bowel habits (loose, frequent stools or can’t pass stool)
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Cramping or stomach pain
  • Stomach bloating
  • Feeling tired, not hungry and/or losing weight without trying

There is good news, however. The rates of new colon cancer cases and deaths for adults age 50 and older are dropping. One important reason is that more people are getting screened for it. Screening, which is testing before there are any symptoms, helps find polyps before they turn into cancer. If cancer is found early, treatment may work better.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all men and women receive a colon cancer screening beginning at 50 years of age. About 90% of colon cancer occur in people 50 years or older. A screening test is used to look for abnormal growths before symptoms become apparent when treatment may be more effective.

If you are 50 years or older, please consider asking your primary care doctor whether you should go for a colon cancer screening. Some people may be at an increased risk of colon cancer due to family history or other genetic factors and may need to be screened before age 50. Your doctor is best equipped to help you decide whether this is right for you.

There are many types of screenings available:

Type of Screening How Often Should You Get It
Colonoscopy Every 10 years
Sigmoidoscopy with FIT Sigmoidoscopy every 10 years plus FIT every year
Sigmoidoscopy Every 5 years
CT colonography Every 5 years
Stool-Based Tests (gFOBT, FIT, FIT-DNA) Every 1 to 3 years depending on which test

 

Please talk to your doctor to determine which screening is right for you.

To learn more about colorectal cancer screening, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/screening/index.htm

 

Resources:

The U.S. Preventive Task Force

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention