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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Colon Cancer Screening III
May 2000

Q. What are the current recommendations for colon cancer screening?

A. Colon Cancer is a common type of cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women combined. There are studies to show that screening can reduce the risk of dying from colon cancer by early detection and treatment.

Current American Cancer Society guidelines recommend beginning at age 50, yearly rectal exam and 3 to 6 stool cards to check for microscopic blood in the stool each year. Also, flexible sigmoidoscopy (that looks at the left side of the colon) at age 50 and then every 5 years thereafter. Usually, if an abnormality is detected, full colonoscopy is recommended (that looks at the entire large intestine).

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