Colorectal cancer screenings (for patients)

  1. Colorectal cancer almost always develops from polyps that are abnormal or precancerous. Screening tests can detect most of these abnormal polyps so they can be removed before becoming cancer.
  2. There are several colorectal screening tests. Talk to your doctor to determine the most appropriate screening test for you, based on your health and family history.
  3. Starting at age 50, men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should get screened. Some health organizations are recommending screening now start at age 45, and many insurance companies have also lowered coverage to that age, so talk to your doctor about when it’s best for you to start screenings (check with your insurance company for coverage).
  4. You may need to start screening before age 50 if you have higher risk for colorectal Examples of these risks include a family history of colorectal cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel
    disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease).
  5. If you develop any symptoms, such as blood in your stool, constipation, change in character of your stool, unexplained weight loss, or abdominal cramps and pains that don’t go away, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
  6. Share your personal health history and family health history with your doctor to ensure appropriate testing. The 5-year survival rate is 90% when colorectal cancer is caught at an early stage.


Being proactive can save your life so talk to your doctor today about colorectal cancer screening!


This health alert is brought to you by The Physician Alliance, one of Michigan’s largest physician organizations dedicated to improving Michigan’s health.

Source:; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; American Cancer Society; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual health should consult their physician.