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Knowing Which Colon and Rectal Cancer Screening Tests You Should Get, and How Often

Jeffrey H. Dover
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Atlanta Auto Accident and Medical Malpractice Attorney

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1/23/2011
Jeffrey H. Dover
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Since most colorectal cancers show no symptoms prior to developing into the advanced stages, having screening detection methods in place that are effective at reducing mortality rates for the disease are especially vital. Fortunately, screening tests for colon and rectal cancer have been proven not only to do just that, but they also are generally cost-effective. Many states have laws in place requiring insurance coverage for most colon and rectal cancer screening tests, so be sure to check with your insurance provider to see what tests are covered for you.

Some of the most commonly utilized colon and rectal screening tests are:

• Flexible sigmoidoscopy
• Colonoscopy
• Double contrast barium enema
• Computed tomographic colonography (CTC)
• Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
• Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
• Stool DNA test

Prominent cancer organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, offer different screening recommendations depending on a person’s age and level of risk. For both men and women who are at least 50 years old and are at average risk, it is recommended that one of five test schedules be adopted. These include a flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, a colonoscopy every 10 years, a double contrast barium enema every 5 years, a CTC every 5 years, or an annual FOBT, FIT, or stool DNA test.

For patients with a history of polyps, it is generally recommended that colonoscopy tests be performed anywhere from 2 months to 10 years after the polyps were removed, depending on the severity and quantity of polyps prior to removal. For those who have either been diagnosed with colon and rectal cancer or once had the disease, colonoscopies are recommended following the cancer’s removal. The recommended time between screenings begins at an annual rate, but if no recurrences are discovered, that rate can be gradually decreased to 3 or 5 year increments. For those with a familial history of colon and rectal cancer in two or more first degree relatives, a simple colonoscopy is recommended every 5 years. For those at high risk under 40, yearly flexible sigmoidoscopy exams or colonoscopy tests are recommended, depending on specific age and reasons for high risk.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer in Georgia and feel it was discovered late or originally missed by your doctor, please request a copy of our free book, I Have Cancer…Should It Have Been Caught Earlier?, or contact an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice and colorectal cancer lawyer at the Dover Law Firm at 770-518-1133 for more information or to

Category: Failure to Diagnose Cancer


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