Colon Cancer Screening: What Can I Expect?

Colorectal (KOH-loh-REK-tul) cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum

Your colon and rectum make up what is called your large intestine (in-TES-tin). This is a long tube that absorbs water and cleans your body of waste. The large intestine is the final place where food is processed after you eat. It is also where stools are formed. If you find colorectal cancer early, your chances of surviving are high. The best way to catch it early is to get screened or tested.

Did you know?
• Most people have no symptoms in the early stages of colorectal cancer. It can grow for years without your feeling any pain or discomfort.
• About 1 in 15 people get colorectal cancer.
• If colorectal cancer is caught in its early stage, it is up to 90% curable.

Who Should Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer?
You should get screened for colorectal cancer if you:
• Are over 50 years old.
• Have had polyps (PAH-lips), which are small balloon-shaped pouches in the colon or rectum that may contain cancer cells.
• Have had colorectal cancer before.
• Have parents, brothers, sisters, or children who have had colorectal cancer.
• Have ulcerative colitis (UHL-ser-uh-TIV koh-LI-tiss) or Crohn’s (Kronze) disease, which cause inflammation in the colon or small intestine.
• Are African American.

Provided as an educational resource by Merck