Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. for both men and women. With early detection through screening, colorectal cancers are preventable and treatable. Talk to your primary care physician about colorectal screening. Talk to your primary care provider about colorectal screening. To schedule an appointment with a primary care provider at UofL Health – UofL Physicians, call 502-588-4343.

If a colonoscopy is recommended, a number of UofL Physicians practices offer this. To schedule a screening colonoscopy, talk to your primary care provider or call the UofL Health Cancer Screening Program at 502-210-4497.

Screening Guidelines

The USPSTF recommends screening for colorectal cancer in all adults aged 45 to 75 years.

For patients ages 76 to 85, talk to your provider about whether or not screening is recommended. Your provider will consider your overall health, prior screening history and preferences.

Screening should be done by ONE of the following:

  1. Annually, have a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). If the physician finds blood in your stool, you may need a colonoscopy.
  2. Every five years, have a virtual colonoscopy, also called Computed Tomographic (CT) Colonography. A colonoscopy will be performed if polyps are found.
  3. Every 10 years, have a colonoscopy performed if not at high risk.

Who Should Be Screened?

Anyone age 45 or older. In 2018, the American Cancer Society lowered the screening age recommendation from 50 to 45 because of a higher incidence rate in those aged 45-49 that wasn’t being caught early enough.

For those with a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease or a family history of colorectal cancer or certain type of polyps, screening should be completed earlier.

Are You Born After 1990? You May Be at a Higher Risk.

However, the nation is currently facing an epidemic of young people with colon and rectal cancer that is presenting in people that have essentially no other medical problems. Based on actuarial data, if you were born after the year 1990, your risk for developing colon and rectal cancer is roughly six times what it would be for your parents over the course of your lifetime.

Health experts aren’t sure why exactly this is happening, but they do know it is not because of a genetic predisposition or environmental exposure.

In this group of younger people, the disease is often more deadly because most clinicians do not have the raised awareness of young people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The symptoms younger patients present with could be discounted because of their age.

Due to the prevalence of the disease in younger people and how the disease manifests itself, patients should be encouraged to talk to their health care provider about preventative screenings and physical exams to identify colorectal cancer.

What are the Symptoms?

  • Having a hard time initiating a bowel movement
  • Changing the foods that you eat because some foods are not tolerated like they used to be
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Abdominal distension and bloating
  • Severe nausea
  • Blood when a person passes a bowel movement

What Types of Screenings are Recommended?

Colorectal cancer screening is covered by most insurances, though some still may not cover it until age 50.

  1. Colonoscopy – A screening colonoscopy is the best way to detect pre-cancerous polyps and cancer. The procedure may be done by a colon and rectal surgeon, general surgeon or gastroenterologist. This should be completed every 10 years.
  2. Stool test – A take-at-home stool test including FIT or Stool DNA such as Cologuard ® which looks for blood in the stool or both blood and DNA changes suggestive of colorectal cancer. A positive take-at-home test must have a colonoscopy to complete the screening process. This can be completed with a primary care provider.

If you’re diagnosed with colorectal cancer and further treatment is needed, the multidisciplinary colorectal cancer team at UofL Health – Brown Cancer Center has a team of oncology experts ready to help. Call 502-562-HOPE (4673) or visit this page.

Colorectal Screening Locations

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