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Annual colorectal cancer screenings are recommended for men and women over 50

April 17, 2020

As the human body ages, screening for various conditions and diseases may need to occur more frequently. Routine doctor visits may not be a part of most people’s image of the perfect retirement, but such checkups can save lives and make one’s golden years much more enjoyable.

The World Health Organization notes that cancer is the leading cause of death across the globe and that colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the world. A 2017 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention concluded that risk factor modification, screening and treatment all have considerable potential to reduce colorectal cancer mortality by 2030.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends men and women between the ages of 50 and 75 be screened for colorectal cancer every year. Doctors screen for colorectal cancer in various ways, and many of these screenings need not be conducted annually. However, the USNLM recommends all men and women between the ages of 50 and 75 receive a fecal occult blood, or stool-based, test every year. In addition, men and women should receive a fecal immunochemical, or FIT, test every year. The FIT is a simple test that adults can conduct in the privacy of their own homes.

Doctors may recommend additional screenings for colorectal cancer. Upon making such recommendations, doctors will discuss patients’ screening options, which include an assortment of tests, and then recommend which test might be best for the patient. The USNLM recommends men and women receive stool DNA tests every three years, flexible sigmoidoscopy tests every five years and double contrast barium enemas every five years. Virtual colonoscopies (once every five years) and colonoscopies (once every 10 years) also may be recommended. 

Colorectal cancer claims hundreds of thousands of lives across the globe every year. Men and women over 50 can reduce their risk of falling victim to colorectal cancer by scheduling annual screenings.


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