Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and women. It is also one of the most common causes of death from cancer. Screening is worthwhile because colorectal cancer is one of the few types of cancer in which precancerous growths can be identified and removed in order to prevent progression to cancer. Colonoscopy has been proven to reduce death from colon cancer.
Who should be screened?
All men & women age 50 or greater, at least once every 10 years
SCREENING means you do not have any symptoms. You need screening because polyps or precancerous growths in the colon do not cause symptoms.
If you are found to have polyps during your first colonoscopy, you will need repeat exams at more frequent intervals. This is called SURVEILLANCE.
If you have significant heart, lung, liver or kidney disease or if you have already been diagnosed with another type of cancer, screening may not be appropriate. Please discuss this with your primary physician.
**Men and women with a family history of colorectal cancer are at high risk for colon cancer and potentially need to be screened earlier. In general, these individuals should start screening colonoscopy 10 years prior to the age at which their family member was diagnosed. Depending on each individual case, we may start even earlier. Timing should be discussed with a primary care physician or a gastroenterologist.