Colon Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer: Preventable. Beatable. Treatable

Colon cancer is the second most common cancer killer overall and third most common cause of cancer-related death in the United States.  Each year there will be 153,000 new cases and 52,000 deaths from colon cancer.  It affects men and women equally.

However, the risk of developing colon cancer can be markedly reduced by undergoing screening colonoscopy.  Fortunately, the vast majority of colon cancers begin as small benign polyps that over time grown and become cancerous.  These benign polyps can be detected during colonoscopy and removed, thereby preventing them from ever progressing onto cancer.

The current recommendations for colon cancer screening are as follows:

  • Most people should have their first colonoscopy at age 50
  • African Americans should have their first colonoscopy at age 45
  • If no polyps are found during the initial colonoscopy then it should be repeated in ten years
  • If polyps are found during the initial colonoscopy then it should be repeated in three to five years
  • People with a family history of colon cancer should have their first colonoscopy at either age 40 or ten years younger then the age when the relative was diagnosed with colon cancer
  • Women who have been diagnosed with uterine or ovarian cancer before age 50 should undergo colonoscopy every three to five years starting at the time of the diagnosis of the uterine or ovarian cancer