By Eugene Huang, M.D.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is among the top five most common cancers with a lifetime risk of approximately 5%. Sometimes, it can also be associated with hereditary conditions such as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis or Lynch Syndrome.
Fortunately, screening for colorectal cancer is both well established and extremely effective. Colonoscopy is the most common and best screening method. Colonoscopy is recommended every ten years, starting at the age of 50 years, until about 75 years. Colorectal cancers often start as polyps that are slow growing and gradually progress over many years. If they are detected early enough, suspicious polyps can be removed during colonoscopy and prevented from developing into cancer later on. Other screening options include sigmoidoscopy and sampling stool for blood. Talk to your doctor about colorectal cancer and the best screening options for you.