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Colorectal Cancer Screening

By on March 20, 2014

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer among men and women in the United States, after lung cancer. About 1 in 3 adults is not getting screened for colorectal cancer as recommended by the U.S. Preventive services Task Force (USPSTF), according to a new Vital Signs report: Colorectal Cancer Screening Test Use – 2012.

You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, according to the CDC and then continue getting screened at regular intervals. You may need to be tested earlier than 50 or more often than other people if you or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer or if you have inflammatory bowel disease.

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but only if people get tested. Here are several people willing to share their screening stories.

Adults aged 50 to 75 years should get tested with one or a combination of these screening tests:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) done at home every year
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy, done every five years, with FOBT/FIT done every three years
  • Colonoscopy done every 10 years

Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. Someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement), persistent stomach pain or cramps, and unexplained weight loss are all symptoms to be aware of with colorectal cancer.


CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) provides funding to 25 states and 4 tribes across the United States for five years. The CRCCP’s goal is to increase colorectal (colon) cancer screening rates among men and women aged 50 years and older from about 64% to 80% in the funded states by 2014.

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