Colorectal Cancer Awareness

What to know

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives.


Photo of a man and a woman
If you're 45 to 75 years old, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly.

Getting screened regularly, beginning at age 45, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum). If you’re 45 to 75 years old, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. If you’re younger than 45 and think you may be at high risk of getting colorectal cancer, or if you’re older than 75, talk to your doctor about screening.

Colorectal cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. That is why getting screened regularly is so important.

Screening test options

Sometimes abnormal growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps may turn into cancer. Screening tests can find polyps so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment works best.

Several screening tests can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer, including some that you can do at home. Each test has advantages and disadvantages.

If you are 45 years old or older, talk to your doctor about screening. If you think you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer, speak with your doctor about when to begin screening, which test is right for you, and how often to get tested.

Screen for Life: Strangers with Colons: Erin and Sandy

In this video, Erin and Sandy answer questions about prep, the procedure, and the follow-up for a colonoscopy.

Robert's story


Robert’s dad got colorectal cancer at age 45. So when Robert went for his annual checkup, he asked his own doctor about getting screened. He got a screening test called a colonoscopy. This test can show the whole colon. It was the best test for Robert because of his family cancer history. The colonoscopy showed he had cancer.

“People tell me that they are scared to get screened, but I think it’s scarier if you have a tumor that the doctor can’t remove,” Robert said. “If I hadn’t been screened, I wouldn’t have been able to see my son go off to college, or enjoy this next chapter of my life with my wife and family.”

Featured resources

  • If you're 45 or older, it's time to screen for colorectal cancer. It takes guts to put your health first. Start today.
  • Use these posts to spread the word, on social media, that colorectal cancer screening saves lives.