The purpose of these tests is to find and treat cancer early. Common screening options are:
- Colonoscopy—every 10 years
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)—every year
- Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)—every year
- Sigmoidoscopy—every 5-10 years
- CT colonography—every 5 years
- Barium enema—every 5 years
- Stool DNA test every 3 years
Talk to the doctor about testing after age 40 if you are Black, Asian, or a native of Alaska.
Talk to the doctor about how often you should be tested if you have:
- People in your family with:
- Colon or rectal cancer, or polyps
- Inherited diseases of the colon or rectum
- Had colon or rectal cancer, or polyps
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
To help lower the risk of colon cancer:
- Quit smoking—ask the doctor about programs that help
- Eat a well-balanced, healthful diet.
- Get at least 30 minutes of activity a day on most days of the week.
- Alcohol—Do not drink more than 2 drinks a day if you are a man or more than 1 a day if you are a woman.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Colorectal cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer.html.
- Colorectal cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/colorectal-cancer.
- Colorectal cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/colorectal-cancer-screening.
- Colorectal cancer screening tests. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/screening-tests-used.html.
- General information about rectal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/rectal-treatment-pdq.
- Moreno C, Kim DH, Bartel TB, et al. Colorectal cancer screening. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria. Available at: https://acsearch.acr.org/docs/69469/Narrative. Updated 2018.
- Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
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