Risk Factors and Screening


Risk factors for colorectal cancer:

There are several risk factors, however age is the most common risk factor for colorectal cancer.  Colorectal cancer can occur
at any age but is most common in people 50 age or older.  Both men and women are at equal risk.  Your risk for colorectal cancer
may be higher if you have inflammatory bowel disease or a child, parent, or sibling who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer
or has a history of colonic polyps.


Early Detection and Screening

Screening is when you are checked for disease when you   do not have any symptoms. If you have symptoms of colorectal cancer
diagnostic tests are necessary to determine the cause of the symptoms.

The Goal of Colorectal Screening

The goal of screening is to detect and remove polyps before they become cancerous. Screening can also reduce the number of
deaths related to colorectal cancer by detecting more cancers at early, more treatable stages.
(Approximately 65% of colorectal cancers are found in patients are found in patients with no known risk factors
for the disease.)

Screening Method Screening Timeframe Brief Description
Fecal occult blood
test (FOBIT) or fecal
immunochemical test (FIT)


Noninvasive test for
Blood in stool for 3 consecutive bowel movements

Every 5 years

Short flexible tube inserted to visually inspect inside of rectum and lower part of colon
And flexible sigmoidoscopy
Annual FOBT (or
FIT) and flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
Both tests listed above to increase chance of finding cancer
Barium enema
Every 5 years X-ray with barium
Enema and air to see outline of rectum and colon
Colonoscopy Every 10 years Longer flexible
Tube inserted to
Completely visually
Inspect rectum and all of colon and remove polyps