Colon Cancer: Knowledge is Power

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. If caught early, colorectal cancer is 90 percent curable. If precancerous polyps are found during screening, the disease is often altogether preventable. 

New guidelines: Get screened at 45.

Men and women are affected equally by colorectal cancer. For patients of average risk with no family history, it is now recommended that screenings for colon cancer begin at age 45, even for people who feel perfectly healthy.

Screening: You have options. 

Screening can find colorectal cancer early, making it easier to treat. There are new options available, including non-invasive testing. Talk to your doctor about which one is right for you. The important thing is to be screened. 

The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) is a non-invasive at-home test kit used to find tiny amounts of blood in the stool that could indicate cancer or large polyps. Any abnormal result will need to be followed up with a colonoscopy. 

Stool DNA testing is another non-invasive at-home test to check for colorectal cancer. It looks for certain DNA or gene changes in the stool.  If a stool DNA test finds something abnormal, a colonoscopy will be needed to follow-up on the findings. 

A colonoscopy is the most effective way to prevent, detect, and diagnose colon cancer. Along with functioning as a screening test to check for cancer or precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum, a colonoscopy can also help find ulcers, tumors and areas of inflammation or bleeding. 

Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

Even if you have no family history of the colorectal cancer or polyps, you are at increased risk if: 

  • you are 45+ years of age
  • you are overweight
  • you are physically inactive
  • you smoke and/or excessively consume alcohol
  • you eat a lot of red meat 
  • you have diagnosed or undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes
  • you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis

*Although the screening guidelines have been lowered to age 45, some insurances may not cover the screening until age 50.

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AdventHealth Medical Group is Central Florida’s most comprehensive multi-specialty medical group practice. With nearly 600 board-certified physicians, the group provides patients with a broad range of medical and surgical services across more than 40 medical specialties. For more information or to make an appointment, call 866-997-3627 or visit

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