Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colon and rectal cancer screening protocols have been developed to help detect cancer or

pre-cancerous conditions in asymptomatic people.  Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death.  Once an individual has symptoms from colon cancer, the chances of cure are about 50%.  When detected in the asymptomatic stage, cure rates are greater than 95%. 

Screening is recommended for individuals over 50 yrs old.  Screening at a younger age may be appropriate in certain circumstances such as in individuals with a parent who was diagnosed with colon cancer at a young age or in individuals diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

 There are four accepted protocols.

   1.  Yearly stool testing for occult blood.     

   2.  Testing of the stool for blood combined with sigmoidoscopy every 5 yrs.

   3.  Barium enema every 5 yrs.

  1. Colonoscopy every 10 yrs.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each method.  You can discuss the best protocol for you with your provider.

Click here to access the American Cancer Society guidelines.