Colorectal cancer prevention
You can take steps to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Through routine screenings, you can often stop colorectal cancer before it starts. Because of the many screening options available to suit your needs, colorectal cancer is considered one of the most preventable types today.
Many factors affect your risk for colorectal cancer and some lifestyle factors are within your control. Healthy dietary choices, regular physical activity, limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking are all preventive actions. If you’re ready to take charge of colorectal cancer prevention, talk with your doctor about your next steps.
Colorectal cancer screening
Following your doctor’s guidance on colorectal screening is one of the best ways to prevent colorectal cancer. If you have an average risk of colorectal cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends starting colorectal screenings at 45.
From stool-based tests to endoscopic procedures like colonoscopy, the guidelines for screening include several options. How often you need screening will depend on which test you choose.
In general, the guidelines recommend the following timing for each type of screening test:
- gFOBT stool test: Annually
- FIT stool test: Annually
- DNA-FIT stool test: Every three years
- Colonoscopy: Every ten years
- Virtual colonoscopy: Every five years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: Every five years or every ten years when used with yearly FIT
If you have any factors that put you at a higher risk of colorectal cancer, you should talk with your doctor about starting screening sooner. People with risk factors often need screenings earlier and more often. They’re also more likely to need a specific screening type, usually a colonoscopy.