Screening Guidelines





Colorectal Cancer and Polyps

Our Recomendations

Beginning at age 50, both men and women should undergo testing.  

Tests That Find Polyps and Cancer

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years, or
  • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years*, or
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years*


* If the test is positive, a colonoscopy should be done.

High definition colonoscopy will find small or flat polyps that cannot be visualized through normal colonoscopy. 

Barium Enema or CT colonography combined with a flexible sigmoidoscopy will not detect polyps that are <5 mm or flat.

Tests that are designed to find both early cancer and polyps are preferred if these tests are available to you and you are willing to have one of these more invasive tests. Talk to your doctor about which test is best for you.

The American Cancer Society recommends that some people be screened using a different schedule because of their personal history or family history. Persons who are at average risk should start screening at age 50 and continue with testing once every ten years.  Persons who are at increased risk should start screening at age 40 and continue every 5 years or more frequently based on individual findings. Talk with your doctor about your history and what colorectal cancer screening schedule is best for you.