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Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States. In colorectal cancer, cancer cells grow in the colon, rectum or both. When detected early, it's one of the most treatable forms of cancer.
Factors that place you at a higher risk for colorectal cancer are:
Screening for colorectal cancer is highly effective and can reduce your risk of both developing and dying from the disease.
Ages 18-39: Screening is usually not necessary unless you have IBD, a concerning history of many cancers in your family, or hereditary syndromes such as Lynch syndrome or FAP. If this is the case, your provider may recommend screening at a younger age, usually 10 years earlier than the time the youngest person in your family was diagnosed.
Ages 40-49: Review your risks annually with your provider. You may need to begin screening if you're at increased risk or if you've had adenomas.
Ages 50+: Everyone should be screened. Acceptable forms of screening can include a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and/or annual stool occult blood. Based on your risk profile, your health care provider can help you decide which test is appropriate for you.
People with a family history of colorectal cancer and/or other cancers in several close relatives across generations, especially if these cancers occur at a young age, may benefit from genetic counseling and testing. Learn more through our Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention.
Learn simple steps to help prevent colon cancer.
Find out whether you should get a colonoscopy.
Read a study that reinforces the value of colonoscopy screening for prevention.
Watch a video about risk factors and prevention for colon and esophageal cancers.