Many colorectal cancer deaths can be prevented by early and regular screenings. Colonoscopies locate and remove polyps, which are tiny growths that can become cancerous. Stool-based screening methods check for blood or other signs of cancer in your stool. The goal in screening is to find colon and rectal cancer in its earliest stages and to remove polyps before they become cancerous.

Colorectal cancer often appears without symptoms, so screening is essential in catching and stopping the disease early.

Current American Cancer Society guidelines recommend first screening at age 45, or earlier if you have a family history of the disease. When caught early, colon and recta cancer is both treatable and beatable. As always we recommend you talking with your health insurance company prior to any procedure.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Screening Tests for Colon & Rectal Cancer > 

What types of screening tests are available?

There are several different ways to find and diagnose colon cancer. Your health care provider can recommend the best test for you based on your health history, symptoms and risk level.

Learn More About Screening Options

What are the symptoms of colon or rectal cancer?

While early colon cancer often has no symptoms, sometimes several signs can be present. Warning signs to look for include:

  • Blood in or on the stool; a change in bowel habits; or stools that are narrower than usual
  • General stomach discomfort or frequent gas pains
  • Weight loss that occurs despite no change daily habits or diet
  • Chronic fatigue

If you suffer from any of these warning signs, please discuss them with your doctor immediately.

Read More About Colon Cancer Symptoms

Preparing for a colonoscopy

Colonoscopies are considered the “Gold Standard” for colorectal cancer screening. Colonoscopies detect and prevent cancer by removing pre-cancerous polyps. While colonoscopies can be uncomfortable, there are things that you can do beforehand to make them easier to endure.

How Not to Dread a Colonoscopy

Find a screening professional near you

Find a Gastroenterologist (AGA)  Find a Gastroenterologist (ACG)   Find a Community Health Center

Disclaimer: These buttons will take you outside of the Colon Cancer Coalition’s website. We do not endorse any of the healthcare providers listed in these external databases. Please check with any applicable insurance providers about costs associated with any procedure.

Next >> Colorectal Cancer and Genetics

Information on these pages is provided for informational purposes only. Consult your own physician before making any medical decisions.