Preventive health

Screenings can help reduce colon cancer risk

Dr's having a discusion

The treatment and survival rate for colon cancer has continually improved over the last few decades thanks in part to regular screenings, according to the American Cancer Society.1

Be proactive

Since colon cancer can happen to anyone, regardless of family history, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for colorectal cancer starting at age of 50 and continuing until age 75.2 Preventing colon cancer is an important reason to get tested. Finding and removing polyps now may help prevent the occurrence of colon cancer later.

Lifestyle-related factors such as diet, weight, exercise, smoking and alcohol use may also put you at risk for colon cancer.3

Humana members can visit an in-network doctor to schedule regular doctor visits and health screenings

Types of colon cancer tests

  • Stool tests—There are several different options available. Tests are typically done every year with the use of a kit from your healthcare provider that you can do at home and return to your doctor or a lab.4
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy—Performed by a doctor every 5 years (or every 10 years if a fecal immunochemical test [stool test] is done every year) to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon.*
  • Colonoscopy—Performed every 10 years by a doctor to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During this test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers.*


*Note: Before either a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy, you will need to clean out your colon. Colon prep takes 1 to 2 days depending on which type of prep your doctor recommends. Some preps may be taken the evening before the test. For many people, the prep may be scarier than the actual test. If possible, plan to stay home during your prep time since you will need to frequently use the bathroom. The colon prep causes loose, frequent stools and diarrhea so that your colon will be empty for the test.

Colon cancer: screening tests and what the results mean (video),

Select the colon cancer test best for you

Speak with your doctor to determine which test is best for you and how often to be tested. Testing may depend on your preferences, your medical condition and the resources available to you.

If you have a family history of colon cancer, you may need to begin screening at an earlier age and get tested using a different schedule.

If you are looking for a doctor to discuss your screening options, visit our Physician Finder to locate a provider within the Humana network.

Find a provider



  1. “Key Statistics for Colorectal Cancer,” American Cancer Society, last accessed April 19, 2022,
  2. “Final recommendation statement, colorectal cancer: screening,” U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, last accessed April 19, 2022,
  3. “Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors,” American Cancer Society, last accessed April 19, 2022,
  4. “Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed April 19, 2022,