Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives.

Colon (colorectal) cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum.

In Washington:

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths that affect men and women.

What can you do? Get screened!

Getting screened is the best way to prevent colon cancer. Screening identifies precancerous growths, called polyps, in the lining of the colon. Your doctor can remove polyps before they cause problems. Screening tests can also find colon cancer early, when treatment works best.

Who should get screened for Colon Cancer?

  • Both men and women.
  • People between ages 50-75.
  • Anyone with a personal history of colon health problems.
  • Anyone with a family history of colon cancer.

Screening Options

There are three ways to screen for colon cancer. Talk to your provider about the screening that works best for you:

Stool Tests (FOBT or FIT) (Recommended annually)

What to expect: Using the test kit from your provider, you collect a sample of your stool (feces) at home and return it to your doctor. If there are traces of blood in your sample, this may be a sign that polyps or cancer are growing in your colon or rectum.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy (Recommended every 5 years)

What to expect: The doctor uses a camera to look for polyps in the rectum and the lower third of the colon.

Colonoscopy (Recommended every 10 years)

What to expect: The doctor uses a camera attached to a long, thin tube to look for polyps in the rectum and the entire colon. Colonoscopy is recommended as a follow-up test if anything unusual is found during one of the other screening tests.

Additional Resources

Listen to the powerful words of actor Terrence Howard:

Learn more about colorectal screening.

Visit the Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program for information about supplementing the costs of colon cancer screening.

Check out these CDC resources to help you prepare questions for your doctor and give you conversation starters to spread the word about colon cancer screenings to friends and family.

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