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Colon cancer

You’ve got options

Even though colon cancer is the second most deadly cancer, less than half of the people who need a screening actually get tested each year. But regular screening helps find the cancer early, when treatment is most successful.

A colonoscopy is the most common test for colon cancer. However, if you’re putting off your screening because you’re worried it’s uncomfortable, talk to your doctor about your options.

One alternative to a colonoscopy is a FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test). You don’t need to make a special doctor’s appointment or do anything to prepare for it. It’s an annual test, done right from your home, that’s comfortable and convenient.

How does the FIT work?

Once you’ve called to schedule your screening, the test kit will be mailed to you. Simply follow the instructions to collect a small stool sample at home and mail back the test kit. The test looks for the presence of blood in your stool which can be a sign of colon cancer. With negative results, you’ll repeat the test again in a year. If the results are positive for blood in your stool, more investigation will be needed.

You should start screening at age 50. If you are African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, you are at higher risk and should start screening at age 45.

Learn more about colon cancer screening, including a helpful tool to help you choose the right option for you, in the Health Information Library.

Saundra’s story

photograph of Saundra

When I turned 50, I knew it was time to get my first colonoscopy. I also knew I’d delay it as long as possible. But when I called to make a different appointment, HealthPartners encouraged me to schedule the test. I agreed – and then cancelled twice. Each time, HealthPartners helped me reschedule.

I finally went in for the colonoscopy, and I am so grateful that I did. I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and started my treatment right away.

Today, I’m in remission and sharing my story with you. If you've been thinking or saying "I'll schedule my colon cancer screening sometime soon"… let soon be now. Pick up the phone and make the appointment today. It might just save your life.

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