SubHero Banner

Understanding colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn’t be there.

Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer. Colorectal cancer occurs most often in people 50 years or older. The chance of getting colorectal cancer increases with age. Both men and women can get colorectal cancer.

Full Width Image Background

Screening checklist

If you are 50 years of age or older, talk to your Southwest Medical provider about your screening options. 

Questions to ask your provider:

  • Why do I need to have a screening? 
  • What type of screening test do I need? 
  • What will the screening test tell me? 
  • How often will I need to be screened? 


Full Width Image Background

Screening options

Southwest Medical offers three screening options: Colonoscopy, Cologuard, and FIT testing. 

  • Colonoscopy
    A sedated exam using a flexible lighted tube inserted into your rectum and colon to check for polyps or cancer. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers. 

    • Can remove polyps to prevent cancer. 
    • Most effective at finding cancer earlier, when it’s easier to treat and cure. 
    • If the exam is normal and your cancer risk is average, you only need one every 10 years.
  • Cologuard® Collection Kit 
    A simple, non-invasive screening test shipped directly to your home mail to a lab for analysis.

    • A good choice if a colonoscopy isn’t an option
    • Testing is done in the comfort of your home
    • Finds 92% of cancers and 69% of high-risk pre-cancersFIT, short for fecal immunochemical test, is a stool test you can do at home and then mail to a lab for analysis.
  • FIT kit
    Similar to Cologuard®, FIT (short for fecal immunochemical test), is a stool test you can do at home and then mail to a lab for analysis. 

    • A low-cost, no-risk stool test you can do at home.
    • A good choice if you can’t have a colonoscopy.
    • Finds 70 – 80% of cancers.
Icon Picker V2


Risk factors

Your chance of having colorectal cancer may be higher than average if:

  1. You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
  2. You have inflammatory bowel disease
  3. You have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Lynch Syndrome, or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer

Talk to your health care professional to learn if you have a higher chance of getting colorectal cancer and should start testing earlier.

Horizontal Rule
Icon Picker V2


Get the facts

  • Screening should start at age 50 and continue until the age of 75 for most men and women.

  • 33% of adults aged 50 to 75 have not been screened for colorectal cancer. 

  • 51,000 Americans die from colorectal cancer each year.

  • 90% reduction in cancer risk following a colonoscopy and polypectomy. 

  • Recommended screenings could prevent at least 60% of these deaths.
Horizontal Rule
Icon Picker V2


Available resources

For more information about colorectal cancer, please visit: 


Helpful resources

Card Box

Find a provider

Southwest Medical has all types of health care providers to meet the needs of you and your family.

Specialty care locations

Southwest Medical offers a wide range of specialty services, from allergies to foot care.

My SMA Health Online

Want to schedule an appointment? Or renew your prescriptions? It’s easy with our online tool.