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Colon Cancer

When colon cancers are detected and treated at an early state (and have not spread beyond the colon or rectum) they are cured in 90% of all cases.

For people at normal risk of colon cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends that beginning at age 45, men and women should follow one of these five testing options:

  • Yearly fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
  • Yearly FOBT and flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years (preferred over either option alone)
  • Double contrast barium enema every 5 years
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years

All positive tests for colon cancer should be followed-up with a colonoscopy.

Learn about colonoscopy, featuring Dr. Kim Turgeon, gastroenterologist

What risk factors increase the chances of colon cancer?

  • Personal history or family history of colon cancer
  • Personal or family history of intestinal polyps
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative or Crohn's colitis)
  • Certain genetic factors (familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner's syndrome, hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer)

If you have any of the above risk factors, talk to your primary care doctor about screening for colon cancer before the age of 45.

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Still have questions?

The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine have answers. Call 800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.

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