October 18, 2022
Colorectal cancer is the fourth-leading cancer killer of adults in the U.S. It also is one of the most preventable cancers and very treatable when caught early. By understanding when to get your screening, along with your personal risk factors, you can learn how to reduce your risk.
Routine screenings are the first line of defense against colorectal cancer because they can find and remove polyps as well as detect colorectal cancer early — when it’s highly treatable.
At age 45, everyone should be screened for polyps or cancer in one of the following ways:
If sigmoidoscopy or CT colonography are positive, a colonoscopy should be done.
Take our online colon cancer risk assessment to learn about your personal risk factors and changes you can make to reduce them. If you believe you are at greater risk, talk to your health care provider about your screening options.
There also are some simpler options that test only for cancer (not polyps):
If any of these tests are positive, a colonoscopy should be done. With gFOBT or FIT, at least two tests should be done; one test done by a doctor is not adequate.
There is no single cause of colon cancer. Most colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps, which can develop slowly into cancer.
You may be at greater risk for developing colon cancer if:
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