Here are several―including noninvasive options

There’s no longer a need to hide from screening. Procedures have improved and now, along with colonoscopy, there are different methods available that are recommended by the American Cancer Society. While colonoscopy (and some other screening tests) require special preparation before the procedure, including medication and dietary adjustments, many tests do not. There are also screening tests that can be taken at home.

See a side-by-side comparison of the different colon cancer screening methods.

Stool DNA Tests

Stool DNA Tests are a non-invasive way to find cancer and precancer by detecting elevated levels of altered DNA and/or hemoglobin in a stool sample. These tests use advanced technology to find altered DNA from cells that are constantly shed into the colon and picked up by stool as it passes through. 

CT Colonography

This is a noninvasive test that uses computed tomography to create both two-dimensional and three-dimensional views of the inside of the colon and rectum.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

This is a test where the lower part of the colon and rectum are viewed by the doctor with a sigmoidoscope—a flexible, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger with a small video camera on the end. The sigmoidoscope is inserted through the rectum and into the colon.


Colonoscopy is routinely recommended for adults once they reach the age of 50 to detect precancerous growths (polyps) and all stages of cancer within the large intestine. This procedure allows physicians to visualize the inside of the colon, remove polyps, and take biopsy tissue samples for further examination.

Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)

These noninvasive screening methods use the patient’s stool sample to detect the presence of microscopic amounts of blood in the stool, a possible indication of colon cancer. This type of cancer detection is not always reliable, because there are other conditions that can cause blood in the stool, and bleeding may be intermittent.