Colon Cancer Screening

Colon cancer is a leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. But it doesn't have to be. Colon cancer is highly curable when found early with screening. And you've got colorectal cancer screening options that are easy to do. 

Talk to your healthcare provider about the screening best for you: At-home kits or a colonoscopy procedure are all proven to save lives. A colonoscopy screening can even prevent cancer. 

Start Colon Screening by 45

Scott Heysell, MD, had his first colon cancer screening at age 45. It found colon cancer in an early, treatable stage. Read his story.

Age 45 is when to start screening if you're at average risk for colon cancer. But you may need to start earlier if you have a higher risk for colon cancer. 

It's important to know that colorectal cancer is on the rise in people under 50, even those with no known risk factors.

Top-Ranked Colon Cancer Care at UVA Health

Most colonoscopy screenings don't find cancer. We find small growths that we can remove before they turn into cancer.

If cancer is found with a screening, you'll have an excellent chance of beating it. Colon cancer is highly treatable at an early stage and before any symptoms start.

And at UVA Health, you'll find extensive cancer support services and a team of experts, including our top-ranked colorectal cancer surgeons.  

Learn About Your Screening Options

Often, colon cancer has no symptoms in its early stages. Long-term survival depends on catching it early. Find several options for screening at UVA. View screening options transcript.

Know Colon Cancer Screening Options

Colon Cancer Screening Options

All of these colon cancer screening tests are proven to save lives. Talk to a primary care provider about the best option for you. 


Only a colonoscopy can both find and prevent colon cancer. A doctor uses a flexible tube with a camera to examine your entire colon. This test requires bowel and food prep, as well as sedation.

If you're at average risk for colon cancer, you only need one every 10 years.

Find out how to prepare for a colonoscopy.

Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)

This home kit looks for hidden blood in your stool, an early sign of colon cancer. Food and medicine do not interfere with the results.

This inexpensive test takes 5 minutes to complete at home. You'll need to repeat it yearly.

FIT + Fecal DNA (Cologuard® )

Also done at home, Cologuard combines FIT with another test that looks for altered DNA in your stool, a sign of colon cancer

Your provider writes a prescription and this kit arrives by mail to your home. You mail the sample to a testing lab. Your doctor receives the results. Doctors recommend taking this test every 3 years.

At-home stool tests allow you to skip bowel prep and other food and drink restrictions. But if a stool test has a positive result, you'll need to have a colonoscopy. 

CT Colonography

This technique uses computed tomography (CT) to create and examine a 3D image of your entire colon. While very good at finding large polyps, this scan can miss small polyps.

This procedure takes less time than a colonoscopy. You do need to do a bowel prep. You'll have to repeat this screening every 5 years. 

Colon Cancer Screening: Guidelines

We can removing polyps during a colonoscopy to prevent colon cancer. Cynthia Yoshida, MD, and Andy Wolf, MD, discuss colon cancer screening, including at-home tests. View the screening guidelines transcript.

Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines

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