Cancer screenings are medical tests that are performed when a person has no symptoms. USPSTF guidelines recommend men and women, beginning at age 50, should follow one of the five examination schedules below. All positive tests (FOBT, FIT, flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema) should be followed up with a colonoscopy. Early detection is one of the many benefits to following the below guidelines.
The screening guidelines below apply to most adults.
Age 50 or older
Follow ONE of the screening options below:
Your doctor can help you decide if you should continue screening after age 75. MD Anderson doesn’t recommend screening for adults after age 85.
If you choose a virtual colonoscopy, check with your insurance provider before scheduling an exam. Not all insurance providers cover the cost of this exam.
Exams for adults at increased or high risk
People at moderate or high risk for colon cancer (e.g., strong family history) should talk with their doctor about the need for a different testing schedule.
You’re at increased or high risk if you fall under one or more of these groups:
These screening guidelines are provided as a guide. If results of these exams suggest cancer, more extensive diagnostic tests of the colon or rectum should be conducted. More frequent exams are needed if polyps (precancerous lesions) are found. Earlier screening is recommended for individuals with an increased risk due to a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease.