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Q: What are the benefits of screening for colon and rectal cancer, and what are the different types of screening?

Colon and rectal cancer screening is recommended, starting at age 50 years for the average-risk person. People with a strong family history of these cancers should consider screening at an earlier age—say, 45 years old. There are several ways to screen for colon cancer. The "gold standard" is colonoscopy, but other studies such as the FIT test, which checks for blood in the stool, can be used in low-risk individuals as well. Colon cancer is one of the few "preventable" cancers as it usually develops from a polyp. If the polyp is discovered and removed during a colonoscopy before it becomes cancer, then cancer has been prevented.

Derrick J. Beech, MD

Surgical oncology, General surgery

Derrick J. Beech, MD
Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic
85 Maui Lani Parkway
Wailuku, HI 96793