Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in both men and women in the United States. It is estimated that more than half of all cases could be prevented by regular screenings.

Colorectal cancer nearly always starts with noncancerous growths called polyps, which would typically be identified and removed during a colonoscopy. This important screening can actually prevent the development of cancer.

• Dark or bright red blood in stool
• Abdominal pain
• Unexpected weight loss

Beginning at age 50, both men and women should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, or even every 3-5 years if polyps are found. Screening may be earlier based on family history.

While a colonoscopy is the recommended screening, your doctor may offer a simple take home test to look for hidden blood in the stool. If blood is found, then a colonoscopy would be recommended.

Talk with your doctor about your history and schedule the colorectal cancer screening type that is best for you.