What do you know about colon cancer screening?

  • Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer diagnosed in women.
  • It is also the 3rd leading cause of cancer death.
  • The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women without known risk factors begin screening at age 50.
  • The screening method with the best detection rate is colonoscopy every 10 years.
  • Women with African ancestry should begin screening at age 45.
  • Screening should begin:
    • At age 40 if:
      • A biological parent had either a colon polyp or colon cancer before age 60.
      • 2 or more biological parents or children had polyps or cancer at any age.
    • 10 years earlier than the age a biological parent was diagnosed with colon cancer. (If a parent was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 40, screening should begin at age 30).
    • Within 8 years following diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (ie ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease).
    • At age 21 in individuals with a family history of hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC). They should also consider genetic counseling and testing.
    • At puberty in individuals with a family history of familial ademomatous polyposis (FAP). They should also consider genetic counseling and testing.

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