The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk* of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45, either through:4
- A sensitive test that looks for signs of cancer in a person’s stool (a stool-based test), or
- An exam that looks at the colon and rectum (a visual exam)
After age 45, the American Cancer Society recommends ongoing screenings as follows:
- People in good health with a life expectancy of more than 10 years should continue regular colorectal cancer screening through the age of 75.
- People ages 76 through 85, should base a decision to be screened on personal preferences, life expectancy, overall health, and prior screening history
After age 85, the American Cancer Society recommends no further colorectal cancer screenings are needed.
*For screening, people are considered as having average risk if they do not have:
- A confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)
- A family history of colorectal cancer
- A personal history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps
- A personal history of getting radiation to the abdomen (belly) or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer
- A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)