Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines


Colorectal cancer, commonly known as colon cancer, is a significant public health concern. Early detection and screening play a crucial role in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease. Various organisations and medical authorities have established guidelines for colon cancer screening to help individuals and healthcare providers make informed decisions about when and how to screen for this cancer.

Age Recommendations

General Population

  1. Average Risk Individuals
  • Screening for colon cancer typically begins at age 45 for average-risk individuals.
  • Individuals aged 45 to 75 should discuss their screening options with their healthcare provider.
  1. High-Risk Individuals
  • People with a family history of colon cancer or certain genetic syndromes may need to start screening at an earlier age.

Screening Methods

Stool-Based Tests

  1. Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
  • Recommended annually.
  • Detects blood in the stool, which may be a sign of colorectal cancer.
  1. Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)
  • Recommended annually.
  • Similar to FOBT, but specific to human blood and may be more accurate.
  1. Stool DNA Test (sDNA)
  • Recommended every three years.
  • Detects DNA changes associated with colorectal cancer.

Visual Examinations

  1. Colonoscopy
  • Recommended every 10 years.
  • Allows for the direct visualization of the colon, removal of precancerous polyps, and biopsy of suspicious areas.
  1. Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
  • Recommended every 5 years.
  • Examines the lower part of the colon.
  1. CT Colonography (Virtual Colonoscopy)
  • Recommended every 5 years.
  • Uses CT scans to create detailed images of the colon.

Frequency of Screening

  • The frequency of screening may vary based on the method chosen and individual risk factors.
  • Screening intervals can range from every year to every 10 years.

Cessation of Screening

  • Screening is typically recommended until the age of 75.
  • After the age of 75, decisions regarding screening should be made on an individual basis, considering overall health and life expectancy.


Colon cancer screening is a crucial tool in the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. It is important for individuals to discuss their specific risk factors and preferences with their healthcare providers to determine the most appropriate screening strategy for their needs. Adhering to these guidelines can help reduce the impact of colon cancer on public health.

Leave a comment