Current recommendations for colon cancer screening vary according to risk category.

For average risk individuals, screening should start at age 45 as outlined below:

Preferred screening method

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years


  • Fecal Occult Blood Test (FBOT) yearly
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
  • Double Contrast Barium Enema (DCBE) every 5 years

Patients are at a higher than average risk if any of the following apply:

  • A first degree relative was diagnosed with colon cancer
  • A first degree relative had adenomatous (pre-cancerous) polyps
  • Patient has inflammatory bowel disease

In these situations, colon cancer screening should start at 40 years old.

Screening recommendations may change according to personal history, findings during a colonoscopy, and the doctor's discretion.