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Screening for Colorectal Cancer

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What do I need to know about colorectal cancer?

Screening means you are checked for colorectal cancer, even if you do not have signs or symptoms. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death in the United States and Canada. Regular screening can find problems early and treatment can begin. Early treatment can save your life.

What types of screenings are available?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about the benefits and risks of each type of screening. Your provider will work with you to decide which screening is best for you. Your provider will also tell you when to start getting screened.

How often will I need colorectal cancer screening?

Screening is recommended starting at age 50 and continuing to age 75 if you are at average risk. Screening may start before you are 50 or continue after you are 75 if your risk is high. Your provider will tell you how often to get screened. Timing depends on the type of screening and if polyps or other problems were found. Timing also depends on your age and if you are at increased risk for cancer. Screening may be recommended every 1, 2, 5, or 10 years.

What are the risks of colorectal cancer screening?

Any type of screening has risks. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks of screening. Your provider may tell you the following:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.