A colonoscopy is a screening test that can detect precancerous or cancerous polyps (growths) in the colon before obvious symptoms develop and cancer becomes more difficult to treat. Regular screening is vitally important, as colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society recommends that women (and men) who are at an average risk for colon cancer begin screening at age 45 and then receive a colonoscopy once every 10 years until age 75 if they are in generally good health.
Who is at a high risk for colon cancer?
The colon cancer screening guidelines for average-risk women and high-risk women differ. A woman is considered to have an increased risk of developing colon cancer if she:
- Has a family history of colon cancer or precancerous polyps
- Had colon cancer or precancerous polyps in the past
- Has an inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Received radiation therapy to her stomach or pelvic area for a previous cancer
- Has Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
If you are considered to be at a high risk for colon cancer, it’s important to consult with a medical professional about what colonoscopy schedule would be best for your specific health needs and risk factors. Your physician will likely recommend screening before age 45, or more frequent screenings.
Colon cancer screening at Moffitt
Moffitt Cancer Center encourages everyone to be proactive about their health through regular cancer screenings. That’s why our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program offers colonoscopies, high-sensitivity blood tests and other reliable colon and rectal cancer screening methods to average- and high-risk patients. Scheduling a screening appointment at Moffitt is easy—simply call us at 1-888-663-3488 or fill out a new patient registration form online.