Who is at risk?

Colorectal cancer is just as common in women as men. More than 9 out of 10 of all colorectal cancer cases are found in people who are 50 and older. Most people are considered at average risk for colorectal cancer and should begin regular screening at age 50.


What does it mean to be average risk for colorectal cancer?

Most people are considered at average risk for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is more likely to occur as people get older. More than 90% of people with this disease are diagnosed after age 50.


What does it mean to be high risk for colorectal cancer?

In general, men and women should start getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer at 50 years of age. However, people who have a personal history or family history of colorectal cancer may be considered high risk and may need to be screened more frequently. Someone may be considered high risk for colorectal cancer because of the following:


  • Family history of colorectal cancer (mother, father, sister, or brother diagnosed with colorectal cancer)
  • Personal history of colorectal cancer or pre-cancerous colon polyps (growths that are sometimes called adenomas)
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • Personal or family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC)


If you think you could be high risk, talk to your doctor soon about the screening schedule and which test is right for you.


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