How often should women over 50 be screened for colorectal cancer?

The American Cancer Society recommends that women at average risk for colorectal cancer have one of the following screening tests beginning at age 50. These tests are divided into two groups: tests that find both colorectal cancer and polyps, and those that mainly find cancer.

Tests that find cancer and polyps include the following:

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every five years
  • Double contrast barium enema every five years

(If any of the above tests are positive, a colonoscopy should be done.)

Tests that mainly find cancer include the following:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
  • Stool DNA (sDNA) test every three years

Discuss options and procedures with your healthcare provider to determine the best screening method for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.