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Colon Cancer Screening

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. Cancer of the colon and rectum can occur in any age group although it is much more common after age 55. Regularly scheduled screenings can detect cancer early. 

Colonoscopy Recommendations for Adults at Average Risk

Current colonoscopy recommendations for adults at average risk for colon cancer include:

  • People 45 to 75 without prior colorectal cancer or polyps AND without any of the factors that define high-risk screening.
  • Test every 10 years if colonoscopy is performed and results are negative.
  • Test every year if Fecal Immunohistochemistry (Stool FIT) is performed. If screening results are positive a colonoscopy will be required to find the suspected cancer and locate and remove cancerous polyps. 
  • Test every three years if Multi-Target Stool DNA (mt-sDNA) is performed. If screening results are positive a colonoscopy will be required to find the suspected cancer and locate and remove cancerous polyps. 
  • People over 75, discuss your screening needs with your provider.

For people determined to be at a higher risk of colon cancer, talk to your healthcare provider to determine a screening schedule that addresses your needs.

Learn more about why colon cancer screening is so important, the types of screening and who should undergo colon cancer screening by reading more by Samit Datta, MD, Gastroenterology provider at Skagit Regional Health, or listening to his Be Well podcast episode on the topic.