- Age – 90 percent of cases are diagnosed in individuals 50 years of age or older
- A personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Inflammatory intestinal conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Inherited syndromes that increase colon cancer risk, such as familial adenomatous polyposis and Lynch syndrome
- Family history of colon cancer
- Low-fiber, high-fat diet
- A sedentary/inactive lifestyle
- Heavy use of alcohol
- Radiation therapy directed at the abdomen to treat previous cancers
Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines
Dr. Asif Iqbal, Primary Care Provider with Community First Health Centers – New Haven
The United States Preventive Task Force recommends screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 50 and continuing until age 75. The decision to screen adults between 76-85 years should be an individual one, taking into account the patient’s overall health and prior screening history. There are several screening methods. Please discuss with your physician the best method for you, depending on your own individual risk factors.
- gFOBT – annually
- FIT – annually
- FIT-DNA – every 1-3 years
Direct Visualization Tests:
- Colonoscopy – every 10 years (repeat frequency depends on findings)
- CT colonoscopy – every 5 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy – every 5 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy-FIT – every 10 years with FIT annually
The above screening recommendations are for individuals with average risk. If there is family history of colorectal cancer in a first degree relative, the screening recommendations are different. Please talk to your primary care provider/family physician or gastroenterologist for further details.
Melanie Woods, DNP, FNP-BC Nurse Practitioner with Community First Health Centers – New Haven
Prevention suggestions include:
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.
- Drink alcohol in moderation; limiting intake to no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks per day for men.
- Stop smoking; talk to your doctor about ways to quit that may work for you.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
- Maintain a healthy weight.