Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer (excluding skin cancer) diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. Several lifestyle-related factors have been linked to colorectal cancer. In fact, the links between diet, weight, and exercise and colorectal cancer risk are some of the strongest for any type of cancer.
Screening should begin at age 45 for men and women of average risk.
Highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
Highly sensitive guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) every year
Multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) every 3 years
Colonoscopy every 10 years
CT colonoscopy (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) every 5 years
It’s important that everyone talk to their health care provider about which tests might be good options, and to check insurance coverage for each test option.
The guidelines stress that these screening tests must be repeated at regular intervals to be effective. And, if you choose to be screened with a test other than a colonoscopy, any abnormal test result must be followed up with a timely colonoscopy to complete the screening process.
Those people at higher than average risk might need to start colorectal cancer screening before age 45, be screened more often, and/or get specific tests.