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Weill Cornell Cancer Center

Prevention and Screening

Genetic counseling and testing are available at the Monahan Center for patients and family members with a family history of colorectal cancer or genetic syndromes (such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis) that increase their risk of this disease. These counselors can help individuals make informed decisions about how to reduce their risk. Our experienced team features renowned authorities on cancer genetics who interpret genetic test results with patients and their families and provide guidance about the most appropriate screening methods.

Individuals at high risk for colorectal cancer may undergo frequent surveillance for colorectal and related cancers. They receive a specially tailored medical organizational binder which ensures that the patient and all of his or her healthcare professionals have easy access to this critical health information. In addition, patients and their families have access to essential clinical support services, such as genetic counseling, nutritional guidance, social work support, and health education.

Several screening tests are available to increase the chance of detecting colorectal cancer in its earliest, most curable stages. These include:

  • fecal occult blood test to look for hidden blood in the stool
  • colonoscopy, in which a slender lighted tube with a camera at its tip is used to examine the inside of the colon
  • sigmoidoscopy, similar to colonoscopy but used to examine only the lower part of the colon
  • virtual colonoscopy, a form of CT scanning used to examine the inside of the colon noninvasively (this technique is not considered a standard screening test)

Screening for colorectal cancer should begin at age 50 for individuals at average risk. People with an increased risk of colorectal cancer may need to begin screening sooner and possibly have the tests more frequently.

NewYork-Presbyterian's comprehensive cancer prevention guide contains important information about cancer screening, testing, and more.

Learn more about colon cancer prevention.

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