Contact Us LA Health Portal Emergency

Healthy Living

Healthy Living

header-title-decorationHealthy Living

Colon Cancer Screening  

Most adults should be screened (tested) for colon cancer starting at the age of 45. Colon cancer is a type of cancer that alters the tissue of the colon and/or rectum. It often starts as a small growth or lump(s) called a polyp. Polyps can become cancer. When found early, they can often be taken out before they become cancer. Some people have a higher risk (chance) compared to those with normal risk for colon cancer.  Please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at the bottom of this page to find out if you fall into that group. 

Screening for Colon Cancer 

FIT KIT images 061422-019

Colon cancer screenings (tests) can find cancer before you feel any symptoms. Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) should be done each year to look for this type of cancer. FIT, is an easy test to do that looks at a sample of stool (poop) for signs of hidden blood. A FIT test is done by collecting a sample of your stool at home and then bringing the sample back to your clinic lab, in-person or by mail. 

Watch this video to learn how to do your FIT test at home  

How to Ask for a FIT Test 

  • You can send a portal message to your primary care doctor  
  • You can call your clinic  

How can I prevent colon cancer? 

  1. Eat a healthy diet and do regular physical activity. Physical activity is known to lower the risk of colon cancer. 
  2. Lower the use of alcohol and smoking cigarettes.  
  3. Keep a colon cancer screening routine 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The longest part of the large intestine. It is a tube-like organ joined to the small intestine at one end and the anus at the other. The colon takes out water, some nutrients, and other substances from food that is not fully digested. The left over material or solid waste known as stool (poop), then moves through the colon. Then it is stored in the rectum and leaves the body through the anus. The colon is part of the digestive system.  

Cancer is a word for diseases caused by a growth of cells that are not normal in the body. These cells can divide without control and take over near tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body; through the blood and lymph systems.  

People with any of these colon cancer risk factors below may need screening that are different, done at an earlier age, and done more often compared to people with normal risk: 

  • Family history of colon cancer or polyps (small growth or lumps) 
  • Family history of a genetic colon cancer syndrome (disorder) like familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary (genetic) non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) 
  • Own history of colon cancer 
  • Own history of chronic inflammatory bowel (swelling of gut) disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease) 

Talk to your primary care doctor if you have one or more of the above risk factors.  

These risk factors bring the risk of colon cancer higher: 

  1. Age 
  2. Family history of colon cancer and inherited (passed by genes) risk. That means having a parent, brother, sister, or child with colon cancer doubles a person’s chance of colon cancer. Certain gene changes linked to familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary (genetic) nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC or Lynch Syndrome) can be inherited or passed on and bring the risk of colon cancer higher.  
  3. Own history of colon cancer. 
  4. Alcohol- 3 or more drinks per day will bring the risk of colon cancer higher. Drinking alcohol is also linked to the risk of forming large colon adenomas (benign tumors). 
  5. Smoking Cigarettes 
  6. Race – Black people have a higher risk of colon cancer and death from colon cancer