Screening for colorectal cancer saves lives.

There are many ways to screen for colorectal cancer including stool tests, special x-rays, virtual CT scan, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. The most sensitive test is colonoscopy. Colonoscopy prevents and detects colorectal cancer.  Colorectal cancer is prevented when pre-cancerous polyps are found and removed.  High risk individuals including those with family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, and those with hereditary cancer syndromes should be screened with colonoscopy. Colonoscopy is also recommended for surveillance examinations.

Who should be screened for colorectal cancer?

  • Average risk individuals without family history of colon cancer should start at age 50.
  • African-Americans should start at age 45 according to the American College of Gastroenterology.
  • Individuals with one first degree relative with history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps before the age of 60 or two or more first degree relatives at any age should start screening at age 40 or 10 years earlier than the age of the affected relative.
  • Individuals with first degree relative with history of colorectal cancer or polyp at age 60 or older or two second degree relatives with colorectal cancer should start screening at age 40.
  • Individuals with familial adenomatous polyposis should start screening at age 10-12.
  • Individuals with Lynch syndrome should start screening at age 20-25 or 10years younger than the youngest affected immediate relative.

Who should have surveillance colonoscopy for colorectal cancer?

  • Individuals with pre-cancerous polyps (tubular adenomas, villous adenomas, tubulovillous adenoma, serrated polyp or adenoma).
  • Individuals with previous history of colorectal cancer.
  • Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease) after 8 years of disease.


Colorectal cancer is preventable. Get screened!