For people at an average risk for colorectal (colon) cancer
Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has the following advice for
colorectal cancer testing:1
The American Cancer Society (ACS), the American
Gastroenterological Association (AGA), and the American College of
Gastroenterologists (ACG) recommend routine testing for people age 50 and older
who have a normal risk for colon cancer. People with a higher risk, such as
African Americans and people with a strong family history of colon cancer,
may need to be tested sooner. Talk to your doctor about when you should be
Stool test,* such as the
fecal occult blood test (FOBT), fecal immunochemical
test (FIT), or the stool DNA test (sDNA)
Every year for FOBT and FIT
Every 5 years for sDNA
Computed tomographic colonography (CTC), also called a virtual
*Others recommend combining a stool test with a sigmoidoscopy.
information on screening tests for colon cancer, see:
For people at an increased risk for colorectal cancer
Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you:
What to think about
Virtual colonoscopy uses X-rays and computers to take two- or three-dimensional
pictures of the interior lining of your large intestine. It may be used as a
test for people who do not have an increased risk for colon cancer or for
people who cannot have a colonoscopy. For people who have an increased risk for
colon cancer, conventional colonoscopy may be better because it permits tissue
biopsies or polyp removal. Virtual colonoscopy is not widely available, and the
cost may not be covered by insurance.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2008). Screening for colorectal cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspscolo.htm.
Other Works Consulted
Levin B, et al. (2008). Screening and surveillance for
the early detection of colorectal cancer and adenomatous polyps, 2008: A joint
guideline from the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Multi-Society Task Force
on Colorectal Cancer, and the American College of Radiology. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 58(3):
December 7, 2011
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
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