If you are at average risk for colorectal cancer, it’s recommended to have routine colonoscopies beginning at age 50. A colonoscopy is the most effective way to screen for, prevent and diagnose colon cancer in its early stages. Colon cancer is highly treatable when found early. People at higher risk, including those with a family or personal history of colorectal cancer, may need to begin screening earlier and have colonoscopies more often.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
- A personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
- A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (i.e. ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease)
- A strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- A known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)*
Follow this link to a quiz from the National Cancer Institute that can help to calculate your risk of colon cancer: http://www.cancer.gov/colorectalcancerrisk/tool.aspx