Public health Florida Department of Health in Alachua County

Screen For Life

60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented if everyone over 50 was screened regularly. Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find polyps so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer.

When Should I Get Screened?

Everybody who is 50 years or older should be screened regularly. Once you're 75, talk to your healthcare provider to decide whether or not to get screened.

Some people should be screened earlier than age 50 if they have a higher risk of getting colorectal cancer. You might be at higher risk if you have had colorectal cancer before, if an immediate family member had it, or if you have inflammatory bowel disease. Although it is rare, some people have genetic markers for the inherited forms of colorectal cancer.

What are the Screening Tests?

There are several approaches to screening. You should talk to your healthcare provider about which test(s) to choose and how often to use them.

Here are some of the more common tests used for colorectal cancer screening:

Screening Test:

What is it?

FOBT (Fecal Occult Blood Test) Blood in your bowel movements can be detected by an FOBT. There are two types.

One type, iFOBT, uses antibodies to detect blood. If you choose this method, ask your healthcare provider for an iFOBT or FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test).

The other type, gFOBT, uses a chemical called guaiac to detect blood. This method is also called gFOBT. If you choose this method, ask your doctor for a high sensitivity gFOBT.
Colonoscopy The doctor inserts a long, thin, flexible tube to look for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers.

What Happens if the Screening Test is Abnormal?

An FOBT test result may be abnormal (positive). Not all positives mean that you have cancer. A follow-up test is required. The follow-up to a positive FOBT test would be colonoscopy. During the colonoscopy, if the doctor finds something abnormal, he or she may remove polyps or cancer, and decide whether to do further diagnostic tests or treatments.

During a screening colonoscopy, if your doctor finds something abnormal, he or she may remove polyps or cancer during the procedure. Afterwards, your doctor will discuss with you whether further diagnostic tests or treatments may be necessary.

Limited Free Screening For Eligible Individuals

The Florida Screen for Life Program is funded to provide limited colorectal cancer screening services to low-income men and women aged 50-64 years who are underinsured or uninsured for screening. The program is designed to meet the screening needs of individuals who are at average risk for colorectal cancer and who meet other eligibility requirements.


You may be eligible for free colorectal cancer screening if you meet these requirements:

For more information or to find out if you qualify for the Screen for Life program, please call 352-334-7926.

This page was last modified on: 08/20/2013 09:56:37