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Screening for Colorectal Cancer

The American Cancer Society recommends that, beginning at age 50, both men and women be screened for colorectal cancer according to one of the following schedules:

  • A yearly fecal occult blood test where your stool will be checked for blood.
  • A double-contrast barium enema every five years. During this test, your colon is filled with a fluid containing barium. The barium is then drained out and air is put into the intestine. X-rays of the area are then taken to look for abnormalities.
  • Every 10 years, a colonoscopy where the doctor uses a long, lighted tube to look inside the rectum and the entire colon for polyps or other abnormal areas that may be cancerous.

People who have any of the colorectal cancer risk factors should consult with their doctor about earlier, more frequent screening.