Screening What are the screening guidelines? The following screening guidelines can lower the number of cases of the disease, and can also lower the death rate from colorectal cancer by detecting the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage. Colorectal cancer screening guidelines from the American Cancer Society for early detection include: Beginning at age 50, both men and women should follow one of the examination schedules below: Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year Flexible sigmoidoscopy (FSIG) every five years Double-contrast barium enema every five years Colonoscopy every 10 years CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every five years Stool DNA test (sDNA), interval uncertain People with any of the following colorectal cancer risk factors should begin screening procedures at an earlier age and/or be screened more often: Strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps in a first-degree relative, especially in a parent or sibling before the age of 60 or in two first-degree relatives of any age Family with hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) Personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps Personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis What are the methods of screening for colorectal cancer? Screening methods for colorectal cancer, for people who do not have any symptoms or strong risk factors, include the following: Fecal occult blood test – Checks for hidden (occult) blood in the stool. It involves placing a very small amount of stool on a special card, which is then tested in the physician's office or sent to a laboratory. Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) – A test that is similar to a fecal occult blood test, but does not require any restrictions on diet or medications prior to the test. Flexible sigmoidoscopy – A diagnostic procedure that allows the physician to examine the inside of a portion of the large intestine, and is helpful in identifying the causes of diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. A short, flexible, lighted tube, called a sigmoidoscope, is inserted into the intestine through the rectum. The scope blows air into the intestine to inflate it and make viewing the inside easier. Colonoscopy – A procedure that allows the physician to view the entire length of the large intestine, and can often help identify abnormal growths, inflamed tissue, ulcers, and bleeding. It involves inserting a colonoscope, a long, flexible, lighted tube, in through the rectum up into the colon. The colonoscope allows the physician to see the lining of the colon, remove tissue for further examination, and possibly treat some problems that are discovered. CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) – A procedure that uses computerized tomography (CT) to examine the colon for polyps or masses using special technology. The images are processed by a computer to make a 3-dimensional (3-D) model of the colon. Virtual colonoscopy is non-invasive, although it requires a small tube to be inserted into the rectum to pump air into the colon. Stool DNA (sDNA) – A test used to check the stool or fecal matter for specific changes in DNA (the genetic blueprint of each cell) that indicate signs of colorectal cancer. The patient is required to save an entire bowel movement and the sample is sent to a laboratory. To make an appointment for a colorectal cancer screening, or to schedule a consult with one of our leading colorectal cancer experts, please call (585) 275-URMC (8762).