A colon cancer screening can detect polyps in your colon before they become cancerous. This is the key to preventing the disease.
When Should I Get a Colonoscopy Screening?
All adults need to be screened for colorectal cancer. This is because colon cancer often develops without any warning signs. The American Cancer Society recommends that most adults start colonoscopy screening at the age of 45. The frequency of screening will be determined by your doctor. But some people are at greater risk, and those individuals should begin screening earlier.
Manage Your Risk
Although a colonoscopy is the most comprehensive and effective screening test, there are alternative ways to get screened, too. If you’re concerned about the colonoscopy, discuss these options with your doctor.
Do I Have a High Risk for Colon Cancer?
Speak with your doctor to better understand your personal risk for colorectal cancer. There are a few factors that tend to put people at greater than average risk.
Being over 50 (90% of colon cancer occurs after 50)
Smoking or heavy drinking Unhealthy diet Not enough physical activity Being overweight or obese
Immediate family members diagnosed with colorectal cancer
Inflammatory bowl disease (IBD) Previously adenomatous polyps Certain genetic conditions
Colon Cancer FAQ
What is colon cancer?
Colon cancer is when a cancerous polyp, or a clump of cancerous cells, begins to grow in the large intestine or rectum. H3: What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer? One of the reasons colon cancer is a big problem in our population is that it often has no symptoms. However, some people may have symptoms that include:
- Prolonged changes in bowel movements and/or not feeling relieved by bowel movements
- Dark stools, stools with blood, or rectal bleeding
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Weakness, fatigue, and weight loss
How does colonoscopy screening work?
The most effective type of colon cancer screening is a colonoscopy. During this test, a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera is inserted into the colon to detect polyps or biopsy any abnormal tissue in the colon. Not all polyps are cancerous, but if any polyps are detected, they are removed within the same procedure and tested.
Is colon cancer curable?
Colon cancer is very curable if it is found early. In cases when colon cancer is detected before it has had a chance to spread outside the colon or rectum, the survival rate is 90%. However, if colon cancer is detected after it has spread, the survival rate is much lower. This is why regular screening is essential for health.
Does insurance cover my colonoscopy?
Coverage depends on your individual insurance plan. However, Medicare and most private insurance plans begin to cover colonoscopy screening starting at age 50, often without any copay or deductible.
Colon Cancer At-A-Glance*
*Source: American Cancer Society
Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors