How do I choose which test to have?
Work with your doctor or nurse to decide which test is best for you. Some doctors might choose to combine screening tests—for example, sigmoidoscopy plus stool testing for blood. Being screened, no matter how, is more important than which test you choose.
Who should be screened for colon cancer?
Doctors recommend that most people begin having colon cancer screening at age 50. People who have an increased risk of getting colon cancer sometimes begin screening at a younger age. That might include people with a strong family history of colon cancer and people with diseases of the colon like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Most people can stop being screened around the age of 75, or at the latest 85.
How often should I be screened?
That depends on your risk of colon cancer and which test you have. Most people can choose one of these schedules:
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- CT colonography (CTC) every 5 years
- Sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
- Stool testing for blood once a year
- Stool DNA testing every 3 years (but doctors are not yet sure of the best time frame)
People who have a high risk of colon cancer often need to be tested more often and should have a colonoscopy when they are.