Colorectal Cancer Screening

Start screening for colorectal cancer when you turn 45

What is Colon Cancer?

Colon cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the colon or rectum that can invade nearby tissues or spread to other organs. Colon cancer is a major health risk for middle age and older adults – but it is often preventable. Regular screenings can find polyps before they become cancer.

Click here to watch the video

Who should be screened for colorectal cancer?

All adults 45-75 are eligible for colorectal cancer screening. Patients at average risk can use non-invasive screening methods at home like Cologuard or iFob. Patients at higher risk should have a colonoscopy.

High risk patients include people with a family history of colon cancer, people with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis, and people with a personal history of colon polypys.  

Talk to your PCP about what method is right for you.

Why should I get screened?

Colon cancer screening can save your life. Many patients with early‐stage colon cancer have no symptoms and are diagnosed through screening. When caught in early stages, colon cancer is treatable in about 90% of people.


Ways to get screened

  • Cologuard

    Cologuard is a multi-target stool, DNA Test

    How does it work?
    Finds abnormal DNA and blood in the stool sample

    Who is it for?
    Adults at average risk

    How often?
    Every 3 years

    Is it noninvasive?
    Yes, used at home

    Is there prep required?
    No

    How long does it take?
    The time it takes to collect a sample

    What steps are needed after a postive result?
    A colonoscopy is needed

  • iFOB

    iFOB is an immunochemical fecal occult blood test

    How does it work?
    Detects blood in the stool sample

    Who is it for?
    Adults at average risk

    How often?
    Once a year

    Is it noninvasive?
    Yes, used at home

    Is there prep required?
    No

    How long does it take?
    The time it takes to collect a sample

    What steps are needed after a postive result?
    A colonoscopy is needed

  • Colonoscopy

    Colonoscopy is a visual exam

    How does it work?
    Uses a scope to look for and remove abnormal growths in the colon/rectum

    Who is it for?
    Adults at high or average risk

    How often?
    Every 10 years

    Is it noninvasive?
    No

    Is there prep required?
    Yes, full bowel prep including fasting and laxatives

    How long does it take?
    1-2 days for bowel prep and procedure

    What steps are needed after a postive result?
    Polyps removed and examined (biopsy)

What is Cologuard?

“Cologuard finds 92% of colon cancers overall”

Cologuard is a noninvasive screening option you can use at home. It is used for adults 45 and older who are at average risk for colorectal cancer by detecting certain DNA markers and blood in the stool. Cologuard is not a replacement for colonoscopy in high risk patients.

Click here to learn more

Cologuard FAQ's

  • Who should use cologuard?

    Patients who have just turned 45 and are at an average risk for colon cancer.

  • Is cologuard covered by my insurance?

    Cologuard is covered by Medicare and most major insurers. Please check with your insurance prior to ordering your cologuard kit.

  • How do I receive a cologuard kit?

    Click here to fill out a secure web form to request your cologuard kit. All information is confidential. 

  • How do I return a cologuard kit?

    You can return your cologuard kit through UPS by either scheduling a pick up or dropping the return kit off at your local UPS store. Please keep in mind to plan to collect your sample when you can get it back to UPS that same or next day.

    Click here for more information.

  • What is the prep like?

    There is no preperation needed in order to conduct your cologuard screening. 

  • How will I get my results?

    Your primary care provider will provide you with your result about 2 weeks after the sample has been received in the lab.

  • What are my next steps if results come back positive?

    Follow up with your healthcare provider. Schedule a colonoscopy to see what this positive result means for you.

What is an Immunochemical Fecal Occult Blood (iFOB) Test?

A Fecal Immuno-Chemical Test is an at home test that checks the stool (feces) for signs of cancer. These tests are less invasive and easier to have done, but they need to be done more often.

Click here to learn more

iFOB FAQ's

  • Who should use iFOB?
    • Any patient over the age of 45 who is at average risk patients who don’t have a family history of colon cancer, a personal history of colon polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease can screen for colon cancer with iFOB.

  • Is iFOB covered by my insurance?
    • iFOB is covered by Medicare, Masshealth and most insurances. 

  • How do I receive an iFOB kit?
    • Your PCP can prescribe the IFOB kit and you can pick it up at your PCP’s office.

  • How do I return an IFOB kit?
    • Return your iFOB kit directly to your PCP office.

  • How will I get my results?
    • Your PCP will send you your results within 2 weeks of returning your test

  • What are my next steps if results come back positive?
    • Your PCP will likely recommend a colonoscopy. Talk to your doctor. 

What is a Colonoscopy?

During a colonoscopy, the surgeon looks at the entire length of the colon and rectum with a flexible tube with a light and small video camera on the end. It’s put in through the anus and into the rectum and colon. Special instruments can be passed through the device to take samples or remove any suspicious-looking areas such as polyps, if needed.

Click here to learn more

Colonoscopy FAQ's

  • Who should have a colonoscopy?
    • Patients at high risk for colon cancer; who have a family history of colon cancer, a personal history of colon polyps or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis should have a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer. There are other conditions that may put you at higher risk for colon cancer, talk to your PCP if colonoscopy is right for you.  Any patient at average risk can also undergo colonoscopy for colon cancer screening.

  • Is colonoscopy covered by my insurance?
    • Colonoscopy for colon cancer screening is covered by Medicare, Masshealth and most major insurances.

  • How do I get a colonoscopy?
    • Your PCP can order a colonoscopy during your next regular office visit.

  • What is the prep like?
    • Colonoscopy preparation requires not eating and drinking only clear liquids for 1-2 days prior to the procedure. The day before your procedure you will drink a laxative solution to clear out all of the bowel until your stool is clear.  Because the procedure requires anesthesia, you will need someone to drive you home from the procedure afterwards. 

  • How will I get my results?
    • Your doctor will send you your results within 2 weeks of completing your test.

  • What are my next steps if results come back positive?
    • The advantage of colonoscopy is that doctors can remove precancerous polyps during the procedure. Your doctor will tell you if there were any polyps removed and when you should have your next colonoscopy.  

Additional resources:

Affiliated with:
Teaching hospital of:
Close