Colon and rectal cancer screening is a way in which doctors check the colon and rectum for signs of cancer or growths (called polyps) that might become cancer. It is done in people who have no symptoms and no reason to think they have cancer. The goal is to find and remove polyps before they become cancer, or to find cancer early, before it grows, spreads, or causes problems.
The colon and rectum are the last part of the digestive tract. When doctors talk about colon and rectal cancer screening, they use the term "colorectal." That is just a shorter way of saying "colon and rectal." It's also possible to say just colon cancer screening.
Studies show that having colon cancer screening lowers the chance of dying from colon cancer.
In certain situations, a doctor might do something called a "capsule" colonoscopy. For this test, you swallow a special capsule that contains tiny wireless video cameras. This might be done if your doctor was not able to see your entire colon during a regular colonoscopy.
Work with your doctor or nurse to decide which test is best for you. Some doctors might choose to combine screening tests.
Doctors recommend that most people begin having colon cancer screening at age 50. People who have an increased risk of getting colon cancer sometimes begin screening at a younger age. That might include people with a strong family history of colon cancer, and people with diseases of the colon called "Crohn's disease" and "ulcerative colitis."
That depends on your risk of colon cancer and which test you have. People who have a high risk of colon cancer often need to be tested more often and should have a colonoscopy.
Most people are not at high risk, so they can choose one of these schedules:
●Colonoscopy every 10 years
●CT colonography (CTC) every 5 years
●Stool testing for blood once a year
●Sigmoidoscopy every 5 to 10 years
●Stool DNA testing every 3 years (but doctors are not yet sure of the best time frame for repeating the test).