Recommendation for screening to find and possibly prevent colorectal cancer:

Beginning at age 50, men and women of average risk should obtain a colonoscopy to find polyps and possibly prevent or find colorectal (colon) cancer at an early stage. Colon cancer screening should be repeated every 10 years based on results. Patients at increased or high risk for colorectal cancer may need to start screening at an earlier age or have exams more frequently.

  • Screening is the process of looking for cancer or pre-cancer in people who have no symptoms of the disease. Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons for preventing colorectal cancer.
  • From the time the first abnormal cells start to grow into polyps, it usually takes about 10 to 15 years for them to develop into colorectal cancer. Regular screening can, in many cases, prevent colorectal cancer altogether. This is because most polyps can be found and removed before they have the chance to turn into cancer. Screening can also result in finding colorectal cancer early, when it is highly curable.

Overview of colorectal screening guidelines, American Cancer Society.
Read colonoscopy preparation instructions.