Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer, and highly treatable when caught early. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men and women combined, and its incidence is going up in people younger than 50.

How can you protect yourself or a loved one from dying of this disease? Experts agree that lifestyle along with recommended screenings are the best ways to avoid becoming a statistic. Screening is especially important because colorectal cancer may develop without any symptoms. If you are 45 or older, you should have had a colon cancer screening by now. Why?
Cancer experts recommended that adults without a family history should have their first colorectal cancer screening at age 45. If that’s you, be sure to contact your primary care physician to schedule your first colorectal screening.

Here is what you need to know about colorectal cancer.

What is it?
Colorectal cancers include colon and rectal cancer, which both affect organs in the digestive system. Most cases develop in adults aged 45 and older, although the incidence in younger people has been rising about 2 percent each year. In fact, researchers predict that by 2030, colorectal cancer will be the leading cause of cancer deaths in people ages 20-49.

Can I lower my risk of colorectal cancer?
Yes, lifestyle factors play an important role in one’s risk of developing this cancer. Experts recommend:

  • Eat a nutritious diet – Consuming a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole grains has many health benefits including lowing your risk of colon cancer. Experts also suggest eating less red meat such as beef and pork, and limiting processed items such as hot dogs.
  • Exercise regularly – Being active has also been linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer. And it does not need to be strenuous. Even walking 20 minutes a day has been shown to have health benefits.
  • Avoid alcohol – If you do drink, the American Cancer Society recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. A single drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor).
  • If you smoke, quit – Habitual smokers are more at risk of developing colorectal cancer than those who have never smoked.

What about screenings?
When most people hear the term “colon cancer screening,” they think of colonoscopy. However, there is an alternative home stool testing kit—the FIT test—that can be used at home. It is convenient, comfortable and can be completed without need for the bowel preparation required with colonoscopy. Ask your primary care physician about this once-a-year at-home stool test option.

Even if you do not have any symptoms, cancer experts recommended that adults without a family history should have their first colorectal cancer screening at age 45. People with a personal or family history of cancer, or are high-risk such as African Americans, may need to be screened even earlier. And anyone with these symptoms should talk to their doctor right away:

  • A change in bowel habits
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Ongoing abdominal discomfort
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue

Remember, colorectal cancer is highly treatable if discovered early. There’s never been a better time to call your PCP to schedule a colon screening and ask whether a FIT test is appropriate for you.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Find A Doctor

Search more than 100+ care providers and schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment.

Urgent Care

From sprains and sniffles to bumps and bruises, our physicians are ready to give you the care you need on a walk-in basis.