To make this free colorectal cancer screening possible, the CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Programs (CRCCP) and gastroenterologists with the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) are joining efforts to offer colorectal cancer screening services – that’s free colonoscopies. It’s available to qualified uninsured patients who may otherwise not be in a position to get this lifesaving test.
What is Colorectal Cancer?
What are the risk factors for colon cancer?
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
- Genetic syndromes, like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome)
The right time of life to begin screening for colorectal cancer is age 50. You should keep getting screened regularly until the age of 75, and then ask your doctor if you should be screened if you’re older than 75.
Colorectal cancer screening saves lives
Doctors believe that if everyone 50 years of age and older were screened regularly for colorectal cancer, the death toll from this dangerous illness could be slashed by as much as 60 percent. That’s as many as 30,000 lives saved every year in the U.S. with increased screening for colorectal cancer. There are several types of colorectal cancer screening recommended. The three most common:
- Colonoscopy – Generally performed once every 10 years beginning at age 50, in which a doctor uses a thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon.
- High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), stool test, or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) – Usually performed every year after age 50. Your doctor gives you a test kit to take home, which you use to obtain a small amount of stool, and then return the test kit so that your stool sample can be checked for the presence of blood – a possible sign of trouble.
- Sigmoidoscopy – Usually performed once every five years, the doctor inserts a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum to look for polyps or cancer.
Where to get the free colorectal cancer screening
- New Hampshire
Other solutions for low-cost or no-cost colorectal cancer screening
If you are not eligible for the program, or live outside a CRCCP-funded state, you should call 1 (800) 4-CANCER or call your local department of health to ask about other colorectal cancer screening options that may be available locally in your community.
For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/features/colorectalawareness