Take Action: Get Screened
On this page:
- Screening saves lives
- When should I get screened?
- What are the screening tests?
- What happens if a screening test is unusual?
- Limited free screening for eligible individuals
- Learn more about colorectal cancer screening
Screening saves lives
60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented if everyone over 50 got screened regularly.
Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find polyps so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find cancer early, when treatment works best.
When should I get screened?
Everybody who is 50 years or older should get screened regularly. Once you're 75, talk to your healthcare provider to decide whether or not to get screened.
Some people should get screened earlier than age 50 if they have a higher risk of getting colorectal cancer. You might be at higher risk if you have had colorectal cancer before, if an immediate family member had it, or if you have inflammatory bowel disease. Although it is rare, some people have genetic markers for the inherited forms of colorectal cancer.
What are the screening tests?
There are several approaches to screening. You should talk to your healthcare provider about which test(s) to choose and how often to use them.
|Screening test||What is it?|
|FOBT (Fecal Occult Blood Test)||Blood in your bowel movement can be detected by an FOBT. There are two types.
One type, iFOBT uses antibodies to detect blood. If you choose this method, ask your healthcare provider for an iFOBT or FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test).
The other type, gFOBT uses a chemical called guaiac to detect blood. This method is also called gFOBT. If you choose this method, ask your doctor for a high sensitivity gFOBT.
|Sigmoidoscopy||The doctor inserts a short, thin, flexible tube to look for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon.|
|Colonoscopy||The doctor inserts a long, thin, flexible tube to look for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers.|
What happens if a screening test result is abnormal?
An FOBT test result may be abnormal (positive). Not all positives mean that you have cancer. A follow-up test is required. The follow-up to a positive FOBT test would be colonoscopy. During the colonoscopy, if the doctor finds something abnormal, he or she may remove polyps or cancer, and decide whether to do further diagnostic tests or treatments.
If a sigmoidoscopy result is abnormal, your doctor will discuss the follow-up procedure options with you.
During a screening colonoscopy, if your doctor finds something abnormal, he or she may remove polyps or cancer during the procedure. Afterwards, your doctor will discuss with you whether further diagnostic tests or treatments may be necessary.
Limited free screening for eligible individuals
The Florida Screen for Life Program is funded to provide limited colorectal cancer screening services to low-income men and women aged 50-64 years who are underinsured or uninsured for screening. The program is designed to meet the screening needs of individuals who are at average risk for colorectal cancer and who meet other eligibility requirements.
You may be eligible for free colorectal cancer screening if you meet these requirements:
- Age 50 to 64
- Underinsured or uninsured for colorectal cancer screening
- Household income below 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Have not had colorectal cancer
- Do not have symptoms of colorectal cancer
- Do not have rectal bleeding
- Do not have inflammatory bowel disease
- No immediate family members ever had colorectal cancer
Florida Screen For Life Program Sites
The program has three sites in Florida. Call the site nearest you to find out whether you are eligible for free or low-cost colorectal cancer screening.
Greater Tampa (941) 748-0747 x 1241
Greater Gainesville (386) 326-3278
What if I'm not eligible?
If you are not eligible for the Florida Screen for Life program, please call your county health department, or find the nearest Federally Qualified Health Center, to learn more about screening options in your community.
If you live in another state, call to find out other available screening resources:
Learn more about colorectal cancer screening
United State Preventive Services Task Force
American Cancer Society
Colon Cancer Alliance