Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for most people starting at age 45. Learn why it’s important to get tested.
Keeping up with regular screenings is one of the best ways to stop colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer.
Colon cancer happens when cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control. It’s the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States for men and women combined.
But when it’s caught early, colon cancer can often be cured.
Being screened can also prevent cancer by finding polyps — small clumps of cells on the lining of the colon. Doctors can then remove polyps before they become cancerous.
One type of screening for colon cancer is easy to do in the comfort and privacy of your home. A fecal immunochemical test, or FIT, checks for hidden blood in your stool, which could be a sign of colon cancer or colon polyps.
If your FIT results are positive, your doctor will recommend a colonoscopy to check the inner lining of your colon and rectum for cancer.
Most people should start screening for colon cancer at age 45 and continue until age 75.
If you’re at higher risk, you may need to start screening at an earlier age. You may be at higher risk if you have a family history of colon cancer or certain other health conditions.
Talk with your doctor about your risks, when to start screening, and what type of cancer screening is best for you.