Cancer screening tests, including those for colorectal cancer, work best when they can help prevent cancer or find it early, when treatment works best.
Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening testsScreening tests can find precancerous polyps, so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.
Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for colorectal cancer using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy beginning at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 years.
You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, then continue getting screened at regular intervals. However, you may need to be tested earlier than 50 or more often than other people if—
Speak with your doctor about when you should begin screening and how often you should be tested.
CDC's Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP)Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) funds 25 states and 4 tribes across the United States. The program supports population-based screening efforts and provides colorectal cancer screening services to low-income men and women aged 50–64 years who are underinsured or uninsured for screening, as well as diagnostic follow-up services.
If you live in one of the CRCCP-funded states,CRCCP-funded states, you may be eligible for free or low-cost colorectal cancer screening. If you are not eligible for the program, or live outside the areas in which the CRCCP operates, please call 1 (800) 4-CANCER, 1 (800) ACS-2345, or your local department of health to learn more about screening options in your community.