Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

Preventing and Detecting Colorectal Cancer through Screening

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Despite its prevalence, colorectal cancer can be successfully treated if detected early. 

Doctors at Loyola Medicine are committed to screening and early detection of colorectal cancer, and follow the American Cancer Society’s recommendations that screening begin at age 50 for both men and women. Colorectal screening looks for precancerous growths called polyps. Extensive research shows that enrolling in a screening program lowers the death rate from colorectal cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines

Screening tests are designed to look for cancer in patients who have no symptoms of the disease, and are the most effective way to detect early signs of colorectal cancer. Our goal at Loyola is to make your experience as comfortable and convenient as possible. 

Several different tests can be used to screen for colorectal polyps and cancers. The tests and schedule may include:

  • Colonoscopy, every 10 years
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy), every 5 years
  • Double-contrast barium enema, every 5 years
  • Fecal immunochemical test
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy, every 5 years
  • Stool DNA tests

The test performed, and the number of years between tests, will vary depending on your specific family history and risk factors. Loyola’s multidisciplinary team of medical professionals will meet with you to discuss your risk factors and determine a screening schedule that is appropriate for you. In addition, Loyola offers comprehensive cancer risk assessment and cancer genetics evaluation programs.

If you are concerned about the possibility of colorectal cancer due to family history, changes in your bowel habits, or screening results, contact your primary care physician who can make additional recommendations for your specific concerns. 

To learn more about colorectal cancer, we encourage you to visit cancer.org and cancer.gov.