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Colonoscopy is the “gold standard” for detecting cancer in its earliest and most curable stage — before any symptoms show. According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rate for colorectal cancer is 90% when detected early. Because most colorectal cancers develop from polyps, the initial goal of a colonoscopy is to detect and remove polyps before they become cancerous, making it both a screening tool and treatment in one.

While colonoscopy is the most recommended tool for colorectal cancer screening because it can be used to identify and remove polyps, other options are also available.

Cancer Risk Evaluation Program

Research shows that people with certain risk factors are more likely to develop colorectal cancer. These include:

  • Age 50 and over
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Personal history of cancer
  • Poor diet (high in animal fat and low in calcium, folate and fiber)
  • Smoking
  • Ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

Patients with Lynch syndrome (LS), also known as hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), may have up to an 80% risk of developing colorectal cancer and up to a 60% risk for endometrial cancer, compared to the general population National Cancer Database Health risk of 5–6% percent and 2–3%, respectively.

If you have a family history of colorectal or other types of cancer, you may benefit from our Cancer Risk Evaluation Program (CREP). We offer genetic screenings for several inherited cancers, including Lynch related colon cancers, and help patients and their families understand their inherited risk for cancer and the steps they can take to mitigate that risk. Learn more about our genetic testing program.

Adult father and son taking a selfie

How to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

A message from Dr. Randall Oyer, Medical Director, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Cancer Program.
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