Your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent testing if you:
Already have been diagnosed with colorectal
Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or
child) with an adenomatous polyp or colorectal cancer. Some experts say that if you have a first-degree relative who has had colorectal cancer, you should begin screening earlier than age 50. They recommend starting at age 40 or when you are 10 years younger than when your relative was diagnosed with cancer, whichever is younger.1
African American. Some experts say African Americans should start screening at age 45.2 Others say to start at age 40.1
adenomatous polyps removed from your colon. This type
of polyp is more likely to turn into cancer, but the risk is still very
If you have an increased risk for colon polyps, the frequency
of your screening depends on your overall health, age, and combination of other
risk factors. Talk with your doctor about the types and frequency of tests that
will be best for you and your level of risk.
Qaseem A, et al. (2012). Screening for Colorectal Cancer: A Guidance Statement From the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(5): 378–386.
Rex DK, et al. (2009). American College of
Gastroenterology guidelines for colorectal cancer screening 2008.
American Journal of Gastroenterology, 104(3):
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.