Couple discussing colon cancer screening while on a walk


Colon cancer: Early screening can save your life

Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Fortunately, colorectal cancer is preventable and treatable when it's caught early. And screening for colorectal cancer doesn't have to be inconvenient, scary, embarrassing, painful or expensive.  

What is a colon cancer screening?

A colon cancer screening can help detect cancer when you don’t have symptoms. Colorectal cancer often starts with precancerous growths called polyps inside the colon or rectum. There are many screening choices available to look for colorectal cancer, including simple options you can do in the comfort and privacy of your own home. 

Screening options

Option How often screening occurs Where screening occurs
iFOBT (Immunochemical fecal occult blood test)
This test can detect microscopic blood in your stool, which could be a sign of colorectal cancer or other conditions affecting your digestive tract.

 Annually  At home
This test checks for cancer cells in your stool sample.
Annually or every three years  At home
CT colonography
A minimally invasive exam that checks your colon's lining for polyps or signs
of cancer with an X-ray and a computer to view results.
 Every five years  At hospital or clinic
Flexible sigmoidoscopy
A flexible sigmoidoscopy examines the lower third of the colon using a small video camera.
 Every five years  At hospital or clinic
Flexible sigmoidoscopy and iFOBT
Combining a flexible sigmoidoscopy and iFOBT test can increase the detection rate for polyps and cancer.
 Every five years; annually  At hospital, clinic or home
A long, narrow tube is inserted into your rectum to transmit images of the lining of your colon. A colonoscopy is the best test for identifying cancer and other abnormalities since it examines the entire colon.
 Every 10 years  At hospital or clinic

*Read list of screening option definitions

Which screening option should you choose?

Talk with your provider to decide which screening option is right for you. They may ask about your risks, family history, talk about each option's benefits and risks, and your preferences. If the test is positive, you will need a colonoscopy.

Why should I look for colorectal cancer when I don’t have symptoms?

Colorectal cancer doesn't always cause symptoms, especially early on. Finding it early through screening helps health care providers treat it more successfully.

A colon cancer screening doesn't have to break the bank. Call your insurance provider to learn which screening options are covered under your plan.

How to get screened

To learn more about screening options, contact your provider or schedule an appointment today. Also, encourage your loved ones and friends to get screened.


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