Colorectal Screenings: Which Option Is Right for You

Let’s face it: It’s nice to be in control. A new study shows that people who have a choice about what type of colorectal cancer screening they undergo are more likely to follow through with testing than those whose doctors choose for them.

Colorectal screeningStudy participants who decided between two widely used screening tests—colonoscopy or fecal occult blood testing—were screened at higher rates than either group assigned to just one of these testing types. And the “choice” group was still the most vigilant in its testing after three years.

Screening Options

It’s important to get colorectal cancer screenings. They largely prevent or find cancer when it’s most treatable. But they don’t work if you don’t get them.

Talk with your doctor about the screening option that’s right for you. Consider getting one of the two screenings used in the study:

  • Fecal occult blood testing, a yearly screening that is performed at home using a test kit. It involves taking a small stool sample and giving it to your doctor. The test screens for blood in the stool, which can be a marker for cancer.
  • Colonoscopy screening is performed by a doctor using a lighted, flexible tube to look inside the rectum and colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove polyps—growths that can become cancerous. You should get this test at least every 10 years.

Take Action Today

Don’t wait for your doctor to order a colorectal cancer screening. Take the lead in your health and talk about your options.

Experts recommend colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 50. But you may need an earlier screening if you have a higher risk. Ask your doctor when and how often you should get a screening, as well as the benefits and risks of various tests.

Discover more about cancer care at WCHN: