Colorectal Cancer Test Recommendations
British Columbia Specific Information
You can lower your risk of getting colorectal cancer by getting early colon screening. For information on colorectal screening, including the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and who should be tested under the new BC Colon Screening program, visit British Columbia Cancer Agency Colon Screening.
For additional information on colon screening, visit Ministry of Health Colorectal Screening for Cancer Prevention in Asymptomatic Patients which also includes the Colorectal Cancer: Guide for Patients. You may also be interested in the Appendix A: Factors Influencing Colorectal Cancer Risk.
Making healthy diet and lifestyle changes can also lower your risk of getting colorectal cancer. For more information, see Healthy Eating Guidelines For Cancer Prevention: Colorectal Cancer. You may also call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered dietitian, Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., or you can Email a HealthLinkBC Dietitian.
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation recommend routine colorectal testing for people ages 50 to 74 who do not have an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer. People with a higher risk, such as those with a strong family history of colon cancer, should be tested sooner. Talk to your doctor about when you should be tested.
People ages 50 to 74 who do not have an increased risk for colorectal cancer should have a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every 1 to 2 years. You may also be offered screening by a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which may be done every 10 years or more.footnote 1
For people at an increased risk for colorectal cancer
You will need to begin routine testing earlier than age 50 and have it more frequently if you have an increased risk for colorectal cancer. Screening for people at increased risk may include sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Your doctor will tell you if you need these tests. You have an increased risk if you:
- Already have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
- Have a first-degree relative (parent, brother, sister, or child) with an adenomatous polyp or colorectal cancer.
- Have had adenomatous polyps removed from your colon. This type of polyp is more likely to turn into cancer, but the risk is still very low.
- Have inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.
- Have a rare inherited polyp syndrome, such as FAP or Lynch syndrome (HNPCC).
- Have had radiation treatments to the abdomen or pelvis.
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of: November 20, 2015
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