Education

Why Test for Colon Cancer?

Everyone is at risk for colon cancer. Your risk increases as you age. Regular colon cancer testing saves lives!  If you are between 50 and 75 years old, you should be screened for colon cancer. Talk with your provider to learn more. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. You are worth it. 

How do I know if I am at risk for colon cancer?

Anyone is at risk of getting colon cancer. Here are some things that may increase your chance of getting colon cancer.

Answer ‘Yes’ to the things that are true for you:

_____ I am age 50 or older.

_____ My doctor has found polyps in my colon before.

_____ I have had colon cancer.

_____ I have a family member who has had colon cancer.

_____ I have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

_____ I smoke.

Talk to your provider if you answered yes to any of the above.

Are there signs of colon cancer?

Not always, but signs could include*:

  • Blood in your stool (bright red or very dark)
  • Stool is thinner than usual
  • Feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Losing weight for no reason
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Frequent gas pains, cramping, or feeling full or bloated

*These symptoms could be caused by other problems.  Talk to your provider.

Many times there are no symptoms of colon cancer so get tested even if you feel healthy

Are there colon cancer testing options?

 Yes!  You have testing options:

  • Stool-based tests check for colon cancer by looking for hidden blood in your stool. It is an easy way to test in the privacy of your own home. 
  • Colonoscopy is a test done at the hospital. It allows the doctor to look inside the colon for growths that can be cancer. 
  • CT colonography is a test done at the hospital as well. It uses a CT scan to take images of the colon. 
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy is done in a provider’s office. This test views the lower 1/3rd of the colon where most cancers occur.

Talk with your provider about the best test for you.