How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Getting Colon Cancer?

 

The risk of getting colon cancer increases with age. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years of age or older. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but many people aren’t getting screened according to national guidelines.

 

When Should You Begin to Get Screened?

 

You should begin to get screened for colon cancer soon after turning 50, then keep getting screened regularly until the age of 75. Ask your doctor if you should be screened if you’re older than 75.

Some people are at a higher risk of getting colon cancer than others. Two high risk factors are:

  • a personal of family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • genetic syndromes like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer, which is also known as Lynch syndrome.

If you think you might be as hich risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about how and how often to get tested.

 

What Are The Screening Tests for Colorectal Cancer?

 

Several tests are available to screen for colorectal cancer. Some are used alone; others are used in combination with each other. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Forcereccommends these tests to screen for colon cancer:

  • Colonoscopy- every 10 years
  • High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), stool test, or fecal immunochehical test (FIT)- every year
  • Sigmoidoscopy- every 5 years

 

How Can I Pay For Screening Tests?

 

Many insurance plans and Medicare help pay for colorectal cancer screening. Check with your plan to find out which tests are covered for you. To find out about Medicare coverage, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program provides colorectal cancer screening to low-income, uninsured, or underinsured men and women aged 50-64 in 25 states and four tribes.

Source: The Centers for Disease Control