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Digestive Diseases

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas

Texas Digestive Disease 
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Colon Cancer Screenings 

What You Need to Know About Colon Cancer Screening

According to the American Cancer Society* colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the US, the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in men and women and it's largely reversible.

Regular screening is the best way to find colon cancer early. Some screening tests may prevent colon cancer entirely.

When Should You Start?

People who have no identified risk factors – other than age -- should begin testing for colon cancer at age 50. If you have a family history of this cancer or have other conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, you should talk with your doctor about earlier screenings.   

For other information visit the Baylor Sammons A Cancer Center  

Tests that may diagnose colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk use one of the screening tests below:

Polyps & cancer screenings:
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years**
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Colon Cancer screening options:
  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year**,***
  • Stool DNA test (sDNA), interval uncertain*

Baylor Dallas is the first in North Texas to offer the Third Eye Retroscope, an advanced screening that assists physicians with finding hidden polyps.

Ask your doctor which option is best for you.

Colon Cancer Signs & Symptoms

If you notice a change in bowel habits, dark stools, rectal bleeding, cramping/abdominal pain, or persistent weakness and fatigue, see your doctor right away. Most of these symptoms are likely to be caused by conditions other than colon cancer, but they could also be signs of colon cancer so you should get checked out immediately. Don't wait – you have a much better chance of fighting colon cancer if it's found early. 

*Source:, revised 2/25/10.

**Colonoscopy should be done if test results are positive.

***For FOBT or FIT used as a screening test, the take-home multiple sample method should be used. A FOBT or FIT done during a digital rectal exam in the doctor's office is not adequate for screening.