Get Screened for Colon Cancer!

Colorectal (colon) cancer is one of the most common cancers in New York State. Getting screened can help you prevent this disease or find it early when treatment may work best.

When to Get Screened

If you are age 45 or older, you should get screened for colorectal cancer.

Adults younger than age 45 should talk to their health care provider about their risk for colorectal cancer and when to start screening. If you or someone in your family has had colorectal cancer or certain other conditions, you may need to start testing at an earlier age. Learn more about other risk factors and talk to your health care provider about when to begin screening.

Regular screening is important because colorectal cancer doesn't always cause symptoms, especially in the early stages. Don't wait for symptoms to be screened for colorectal cancer. If you do have any symptoms, call your health care provider right away.

Ways to Get Screened

Colorectal cancer screening tests look for signs of cancer. There are several screening options. Two of the most common are colonoscopy and stool tests.

Stool tests are easy to do and are done at home. Stool tests look for small amounts of blood that could come from cancer or growths (called polyps). A colonoscopy is done in a medical setting. A health care provider uses a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a camera to look inside the colon and rectum to find polyps. The polyps can then be removed. Colorectal cancer can be prevented by removing polyps.

Talk to your health care provider about getting screened and choosing the test that's right for you. The best test is the test that you take!

How to Get Screened

If you have health insurance, talk to your health care provider about where to go for screening. Colorectal cancer screening is a covered benefit in many health insurance plans. A covered benefit means there is no cost to you, such as a copayment or coinsurance. Call your insurance plan first to find out what tests are covered.

If you do not have health insurance or a regular health care provider, you may still be able to get screened. Call or visit the New York State Department of Health Cancer Services Program (CSP) at 1-866-442-CANCER (2262) for help finding a health care provider and to see if you qualify for free cancer screening.

If the screening test finds something abnormal, diagnostic (testing) services are available through the CSP at no cost. If colorectal cancer is found, eligible people will be enrolled in the NYS Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program to receive full Medicaid coverage for the entire time they are being treated for cancer.

To learn more about becoming insured, call 1-855-355-5777 or visit the New York State of Health (NYSOH) Marketplace.

More About Colorectal Cancer

New York State Department of Health: Colorectal Cancer

The following education materials are available in multiple languages here.