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When to Start Colorectal Cancer Screenings

When to Start Colorectal Cancer Screenings

Staring Colorectal Cancer Screenings

Colorectal cancer is a disease that affects the cells of the colon or rectum that begins as a polyp or abnormal growth found in the same area. Unfortunately, this form of cancer tends to go without observable symptoms until it has progressed significantly.

Like most types of cancer, early detection is key when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. Although many people know that cancer screenings are essential as you get older, many still wonder when is the right time to start.

Here’s what you should know:

When to Start Getting Screened

When it comes to detecting the early stages of colorectal cancer, 90% of cases are found in adults over the age of 50. This makes it essential that adults start getting screened beforehand. According to the CDC, it is recommended that adults of average risk of developing colorectal cancer start getting screened at the age of 45.

Types of Screenings

Stool Tests

The 3 types of colorectal cancer screenings that can be done on a stool sample include:

  • Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT)
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
  • FIT-DNA test

Typically, these tests need to be done every 1 to 3 years,

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at the end is inserted into your rectum. Here your doctor is able to check for abnormalities in the lower third of your colon.

This test should be done every 5 years or every 10 years if you also get a FIT-DNA test.


Similar to a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a thin, flexible camera is inserted into the rectum or his screening. However, during a colonoscopy, the entire colon is examined, and your doctor is able to remove polyps, growths, and some signs of cancer.

This screening should be done every 10 years for those of average risk of developing colorectal cancer.

If you’re unsure about when you should start getting screened or want to ensure that you’re on schedule, be sure to speak with your primary care doctor.