An in-depth report on the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal Cancer Screening Guidelines
A number of major organizations, including The American Cancer Society (ACS), The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTP), the American College of Physicians, and The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), have developed guidelines related to screening for colorectal cancer. While there are some differences among these guidelines, they generally recommend that adults ages 50 to 75 who are at average risk for colorectal cancer should be screened with one of these methods:
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 to 10 years
- Double-contrast barium enema (DCBE) every 5 years
- CT colonography (CTC), also called virtual colonoscopy, every 5 years
- Stool test options for screening, including: Guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year, fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year, stool DNA test (sDNA) every 3 years
Stool DNA Test Approved
In 2014, the FDA approved Cologuard, the first stool DNA screening test for colorectal cancer. The home-based test uses a stool sample to check for the presence of blood and DNA changes that may indicate cancer. If abnormal DNA is found, a colonoscopy is needed.
Follow-Up Care Guidelines
In 2013, the American Society of Clinical Oncology released guidelines for follow-up care. People should receive follow-up care for the 5 years following treatment of colon cancer to monitor for any signs of cancer recurrence. The guidelines recommend specific schedules for:
- Physical exams
- CEA blood tests
- CT imaging tests