Colorectal Cancer Prevention & Early Detection
Although a leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, if detected early, colorectal cancer can be more easily and successfully treated.
Colorectal Cancer Prevention
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes, at least five days a week.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit.
- If you drink alcohol, have no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man.
- Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains to help you get and stay healthy.
- Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat.
Colorectal Cancer Early Detection
If you’re at average risk for colorectal cancer, start getting screened at age 50. If you’re at higher risk, you may need to start regular screening at an earlier age and be screened more often. If you’re older than 75, ask your doctor if you should continue to be screened. The best time to get screened is before you have any symptoms.
Use this information to help you talk about screening options with your health care professional. Consider one of these tests:
Tests that find pre-cancer and cancer:
- Colonoscopy – Every 10 years
- Virtual colonoscopy – Every 5 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy – Every 5 years
- Double-contrast barium enema – Every 5 years
Tests that mainly find cancer
- Stool occult blood test (FOBT) (guaiac) – Every year
- Stool immunochemical test (FIT) – Every year
- Stool DNA test (sDNA) – Ask your health care professional because technology is evolving.
An abnormal result of a virtual colonoscopy or a double-contrast barium enema, or a positive FOBT, FIT or sDNA test, should be followed up with a colonoscopy.
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