Colorectal Cancer Screening Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Screening Month!

Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that adults age 50 to 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. The Task Force recommends that adults age 76 to 85 ask their doctor if they should be screened.

The Task Force recommends several colorectal cancer screening strategies, including stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy).


Fast Facts

If you are age 50 to 75 years old, you should get screened for colorectal cancer.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening beginning at age 50. Some groups recommend starting earlier, at age 45.

The vast majority of new cases of colorectal cancer (about 90%) occur in people who are 50 or older.

Millions of people in the United States are not getting screened as recommended. They are missing the chance to prevent colorectal cancer or find it early, when treatment often leads to a cure.

If you think you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer, learn your family health history and ask your doctor if you should begin screening before age 50.

Know Before You Go

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendsExternal that adults age 50 to 75 get screened for colorectal cancer. The decision to get screened after age 75 should be made on an individual basis. If you are older than 75, ask your doctor if you should be screened. People at an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer should talk to their doctors about when to begin screening, which test is right for them, and how often to get tested.

Several screening tests can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer. The benefits and risks of these screening methods vary. Discuss with your doctor which test is best for you, and check with your insurance provider to find out which tests are covered by your insurance plan, and how much you will have to pay. Medicare helps pay for colorectal cancer screening.

Ask Your Doctor

*Do I need to get a screening test for colorectal cancer?

*What screening test(s) do you recommend for me? Why?

*How do I prepare? Do I need to change my diet or my usual medication before taking the test?

*What’s involved in the test?

*Will it be uncomfortable or painful?

*Is there any risk involved?

*When and from whom will I get results?