Colon cancer screening

Definition

Colon cancer screening can detect polyps and early cancers in the large intestine. This type of screening can find problems that can be treated before cancer develops or spreads. Regular screenings may reduce the risk of death and complications caused by colorectal cancer.

Alternative Names

Screening for colon cancer; Colonoscopy - screening; Sigmoidoscopy - screening; Virtual colonoscopy - screening; Fecal immunochemical test; Stool DNA test; sDNA test; Colorectal cancer - screening; Rectal cancer - screening

Information

SCREENING TESTS

There are several ways to screen for colon cancer.

Stool test:

Sigmoidoscopy:

Colonoscopy:

Other tests:

SCREENING FOR AVERAGE-RISK PEOPLE

There is not enough evidence to say which screening method is best. But, colonoscopy is most thorough. Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.

Both men and women should have a colon cancer screening test starting at age 50. Some health care providers recommend that African Americans begin screening at age 45.

Screening options for people with an average risk for colon cancer:

SCREENING FOR HIGHER-RISK PEOPLE

People with certain risk factors for colon cancer may need earlier (before age 50) or more frequent testing.

More common risk factors are:

Screening for these groups is more likely to be done using colonoscopy.

References

Itzkowitz SH, Potack J. Colonic polyps and polyposis syndromes. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 126.

US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for colorectal cancer: US Preventive Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2016;315(23):2564-2575. PMID: 27304597 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27304597.



Review Date: 8/1/2015
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Internal review and update on 09/01/2016 by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 03/10/2017.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.