Don’t know what colon cancer screening tests are right for you? If so, don’t feel bad. It can be hard to know the benefits of each test, and even harder to decide which test you should choose when it comes time to schedule your first colonoscopy or other screening procedure. Here’s an overview of the main screening options out there, along with some helpful advice to help you choose what’s best for you.
5 important facts
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer.
However, it is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
Screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
There are several different types of screening tests for colon cancer, and the best option for you may depend on your age, health history, and personal preferences.
If you’re 50 or older, you should start getting screened for colon cancer. If you’re at high risk for the disease, you may need to start earlier.
There are a few different ways to get screened for colon cancer, and each has its own pros and cons.
Frequently asked questions
- What is colon cancer and how common is it?
- What are the symptoms of colon cancer?
- How is colon cancer diagnosed?
- What are the different types of colon cancer screenings?
- What are the risks and benefits of each type of screening?
- How often should I be screened for colon cancer?
- What can I do to reduce my risk of developing colon cancer?
Talk to your doctor
If you’re confused about which colon cancer screening option is best for you, talk to your doctor. They can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option and make a decision based on your individual risk factors.
If you can’t schedule a colonoscopy or a stool test, consider getting an FIT kit. These are one-time tests that examine your stool for hidden blood that can help detect polyps and colorectal cancer early on, according to Mayo Clinic. The test is easy—you collect a stool sample and mail it to a lab—and it’s painless, but it may be hard to keep track of when you should order your next test since there’s no formal recommendation for how often you should use them. If at-home tests aren’t an option for you either, talk to your doctor about other available options that could be right for you.
Talk to friends who’ve been through it
It can be really tough to make the decision to get screened for colon cancer. You might feel like you don’t need it, or like it’s too expensive. But it’s important to remember that screening could save your life. I talked to a few friends who have been through the process, and here’s what they had to say
Go on social media
If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot of questions about colon cancer screening. When should you start getting screened? What’s the best option for you? And how often should you be screened?
People have a lot of questions and it can be confusing. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone! Social media can be an invaluable resource for learning more about all kinds of health issues, including why you should get screened for colon cancer, what your options are and what happens during screenings. Start by checking out social media accounts for organizations like your National Health Service or National Cancer Institute and national medical associations like your American College of Gastroenterology or American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.
Work with your insurance company
If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot of questions when it comes to colon cancer screening. What are the different options? What’s the best option for me? And when should I start getting screened? Unfortunately, there isn’t one single answer that fits everyone. That’s why working with your insurance company is so important. They can help answer these and other questions and guide you in making the right decision for your life and your family’s medical history.