Excluding skin cancers, colon and rectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the United States. Several diagnostic and screening tests allow for early detection and treatment. If detected early, colon and rectal cancers are highly treatable. Adults should begin regular screening at age 50. You may start screening earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or if you are age 45 (or older) and of African-American or Eastern European Jewish descent.
Tests for colon and rectal cancer screening and diagnosis include the following: fecal occult blood test, barium enema, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy and stool DNA test.
Patients with colon and rectal cancers benefit from working with physicians who specialize in treating colon and rectal cancers as part of a team of multidisciplinary professionals. This team works together to review and manage patient care, including tumor analysis and disease staging.