Cancer screening should be a regular part of your life. Screening tests are used before a person has any symptoms to help find cancer early, when it may be easier to treat. Print this quick reference guide to take with you to a doctor’s appointment or share with loved ones.
Screening can often find colorectal cancer early, when it's small, hasn't spread, and might be easier to treat. Regular screening can even prevent colorectal cancer. A polyp can take as many as 10 to 15 years to develop into cancer. With screening, doctors can find and remove polyps before they have the chance to turn into cancer.
Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for everyone beginning at age 45.
People with a family history of polyps or colorectal cancer, or who have other risk factors, might need to start screening before age 45, be screened more often, and/or get specific tests.
Find a health center with low-cost or free cancer screenings with no insurance required.
These recommendations are for people at average risk for certain cancers. Talk to a doctor about which tests you might need and the screening schedule that’s right for you. It’s a good idea to also talk about risk factors, such as lifestyle behaviors and family history that may put you or your loved one at higher risk. See more in-depth recommendations in Cancer Screening Guidelines by Age.
Yes! Screening tests are used to find cancer before a person has any symptoms. So, it’s important to get regular screenings even if you are feeling fine. Cancer screening tests can catch some changes that may or may not be cancer.
The first step is to contact your insurance company to see which doctors or providers are covered in your plan. If you don’t have health insurance, you can check with your local hospital or health department for help. Learn more in How to Get Screened if You Don’t Have a Doctor.
If you have health insurance, ask about coverage for cancer screenings. Most screenings are covered by insurance or available at no cost. There might be costs for follow-up appointments and additional tests if they are needed, but most of the time test results are normal and no additional testing is needed. If you don’t have health insurance, you can call your local health department for information, or find resources in Screening For People Who Are Uninsured or Underinsured below. Read more in Costs and Insurance Coverage for Cancer Screening.
It’s okay to be concerned about medical procedures, possible findings, affording tests, or even seeing a doctor. But knowing the current state of your health can make it easier to take care of any issues and can potentially lengthen or save your life.
Your doctor can help you know which screenings are right for you, where you can get the tests, and how to schedule them. If you don’t have a doctor, you can call your local hospital or health department for help. Learn more in How to Get Screened if You Don’t Have a Doctor.
Yes! Facilities that offer screenings have safety precautions in place. It is safe to resume regular screening, and it’s best to schedule your tests as soon as you can. Don’t wait!
Cost is a major barrier to regular cancer screening for people without insurance or who have limited insurance. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is fighting for comprehensive health coverage for everyone. Until then, there are cancer screening resources available for people who are uninsured or underinsured.
We know that you may still have questions about starting or restarting regular cancer screening. So, we’ve put together some helpful questions to make it easier. Here are just a few, and you can find more by reading Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Cancer Screening.
Talking to loved ones about what they can do to stay healthy isn’t always easy. Here are a few prompts to start the important conversation about cancer screening.
Print this quick reference guide to take with you to a doctor’s appointment or share with loved ones. The guide includes screening recommendations, questions to ask a doctor, and conversation starters.