Colon Cancer Screening

Information for patients – Colorectal Cancer Prevention – View/Print/Download (PDF)

You feel fine and try to take care of your health. Great! But you’re still at risk for colon cancer and you should get tested regularly if you’re 50 or older.

  • Colon Cancer is the second leading cancer killer in America, but the great news is that colon testing can save your life and even prevent colon cancer.
  • Testing can find non-cancerous colon polyps or colon cancer early, when they can be easily removed or cured. Polyps are small growths that may turn into cancer if not removed.
  • Colon cancer is most common in men and women over 50.
  • People with a personal history of polyps, colorectal cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease, or a family history of colon cancer or polpys are at higher risk for colon cancer and may need to start being tested before age 50, and have the tests done more often.
  • A family history of other cancers (breast, ovarian, or uterine) may also raise one’s risk for colon cancer.
  • African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews appear to have higher rates of colon cancer.

Early colon cancer often has no symptoms. But, later on, colon cancer symptoms may include rectal bleeding, stomach cramps, weight loss, a change in bowel habits, or just feeling tired. If you have any of the above symptoms, see your doctor to make sure colon cancer isn’t the cause.

What else can you do to lower your risk of colon cancer?

  • Ask relatives about your family’s cancer history.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days.
  • Eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruit daily.
  • Avoid tobacco, and drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Stay at your ideal weight.

© Copyright 2001 American Cancer Society, Inc.  Used with permission.