Colon Cancer Screening
Colon cancer screening can detect precancerous polyps and abnormal cells so your doctor can remove them before they become cancerous. If tests show you have colon (colorectal) cancer, early detection allows us to treat it quickly before it spreads.
Cedars-Sinai colon cancer experts are leaders in their field and offer the latest screening methods. Our team works with you to determine the right colon cancer test and frequency for you.
Who Needs Colon Cancer Screening?
We encourage everyone ages 45 to 75 to undergo regular colon cancer screening as their doctor recommends. Your doctor may talk with you about screening earlier or more often if you have colon cancer risk factors such as:
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
- Personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps.
- Inherited (passed down in families) cancer syndromes such as Lynch syndrome. (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
- Lifestyle habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol use and lack of physical activity. A diet that's low in fruits and vegetables and high in fat, refined carbohydrates and processed meats is also linked to colon cancer.
What to Expect with Colon Cancer Screening
The type of colon cancer test that's right for you depends on your risk factors, general health and preference. Colon cancer screening options include:
- Colonoscopy: Your doctor inserts a colonoscope (flexible tube with a camera and specialized tools on the end) in the anus to view the entire rectum and colon. Your doctor can remove polyps and abnormal cells to test for cancer.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This test is similar to a colonoscopy but checks only the rectum and lower third of the colon.
- Virtual colonoscopy: Also called a CT colonography, this test uses X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans to view the colon and rectum.
- Stool-based tests: These tests check the stool for cancer signs such as blood or abnormal cells. You can usually collect the stool sample at home and send it to a lab. If the test detects abnormalities, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy.
Additionally, our genetic counselors can help you determine if genetic testing for colon cancer could help you prevent disease.
Start Screening At Age 45
More young people are developing colon cancer, so we recommend that everyone begin screening tests at age 45. Learn from Cedars-Sinai experts about colon cancer screening and how we’re working to make it more accessible.