Colorectal Cancer Screenings
Colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in New York State and the #2 cause of cancer deaths among New Yorkers, but it doesn’t have to be. Colorectal cancer may be prevented.
Colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms. A person could have colorectal cancer and not know it.
If there are symptoms, they can include:
- Blood in stool or tar-like stools
- Change in bowel movement habits – either constipation or diarrhea
- Pain or cramps in your stomach that do not go away
- Losing weight and you don’t know why
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider.
There is more than one test for colorectal cancer. You have a choice!
- Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) or Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) – You do these tests at home and send stool samples to a doctor’s office or lab. These tests show if there is blood in your stool. If blood is found, you will need to have a colonoscopy to find the cause of the bleeding. These tests are safe and easy to complete and should be done annually.
- Colonoscopy- A colonoscopy is done in a doctor’s office or other medical place. The doctor looks for growths (polyps) or cancer in the rectum and colon. Any polyps found during the test can be removed. This may help prevent cancer. If the results of your test are normal, a colonoscopy can be done once every 10 years.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy-A flexible sigmoidoscopy is done in a doctor’s office or other medical place. The doctor checks for growths (polyps) or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon. This test is done every five years. If this test is done along with an FOBT, the FOBT should be done every three years.
The best test is the test that gets done. Talk to your health care provider and choose the one that’s right for YOU.
Who should get screened?
Age is the number one risk factor for colorectal cancer. People ages 45 to 75 should be screened for colorectal cancer. After age 75, ask your health care provider if you should be tested.
Some people should get tested earlier than age 45. Talk to your health care provider if:
- You or a family member has had colorectal cancer or polyps
- You or a family member has had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- You have a genetic syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch Syndrome
Cancer Services Program Offers the following services:
- Fecal Occult Blood test/Fecal Immunochemical Test kit
- Colonoscopy (only for women and men at high risk* for colorectal cancer)
If screening tests find something abnormal, diagnostic (testing) services can be paid for by the CSP:
- imaging, facility fees, biopsies, pre- and post-operative procedures, pathology and consultations
*as determined by a clinical risk assessment performed and documented by a NYS-licensed provider.
What is FIT? FIT is a stool-based screening test for colorectal cancer that is done once a year. FIT stands for Fecal Immunochemical Test. FIT is done at home and mailed to a lab. FIT looks for blood in the stool, which could be an early sign of cancer. FIT is safe, affordable, and easy to do. FIT is done in the privacy of your home.