Colorectal Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States. There are many screening tests that can help make colorectal carcinoma one of the most avoidable types of cancer.

Polyps are the most common cause of colon cancer. If not treated, they can turn into cancerous. Pre-cancerous polyps can be detected and removed early to prevent the development of colorectal carcinoma. American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), is urging you to have your colorectal cancer screening.

While colorectal carcinoma is more common in those over 50, it can also occur at earlier ages. As we age, our chances of developing colon cancer increase. Screenings should be started at 50 for those who are at the highest risk for developing colorectal carcinoma. African-Americans need to begin screening for colorectal cancer as early as 45. African-Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal carcinoma than whites. In addition, their survival rates are lower than those of whites.

Because doctors can examine the entire colon directly and find suspicious growths, colonoscopy is the best test for colorectal screening and prevention. It is the only test to detect and remove precancerous tumors from the colon in one examination.

The ACG recommends that average-risk people have colonoscopy screenings every 10 years starting at age 50. For average risk people, there are two alternatives: annual stool tests to detect any blood and flexible sigmoidoscopic exam every five years. This is not as effective as colonoscopy which allows visualization and the removal of all polyps. ACG encourages you to speak to your doctor about the screening tests that are most appropriate for you.

A preventable form of cancer should not cause death. We can save lives by improving colon cancer screening. Colonoscopy, colorectal cancer screening, is one of the most effective preventive tools available in clinical medicine. Visit your doctor to learn more about colorectal cancer screening.