Colorectal cancer screenings detect precancerous polyps, which if removed, prevents them from turning into cancer. Screenings also help find colon cancer at an early stage, which if treated timely, most often is curable.
Who Should be Screened
Men and women at average risk should begin colonoscopy screenings at age 50, and repeat once every 10 years (at least) until age 75. The frequency depends on what your doctor finds during the screening.
People with a first-degree relative, who was diagnosed with colon cancer or adenomatous polyps should be screened starting at age 40 or 10 years before their relative was diagnosed, whichever is earlier.
Some people with diseases that predispose them to colorectal cancer may require screening colonoscopies earlier.
Colon cancer, when discovered early, is highly treatable. Even if it spreads into nearby lymph nodes, surgical treatment followed by chemotherapy is highly successful.
Colon Cancer At-a-Glance
- Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S.
- 90% of new cases occur in people age 50 or older.
- On average, your risk is about 1 in 20, although this varies widely according to your individual risk factors.
- People with a first-degree relative who had colon cancer have 2 to 3 times the risk of developing the disease.
- There are currently more than 1 million colon cancer survivors in the U.S.
Source: Colon Cancer Alliance