Skip to main content

Take care of you

Know your options for colon cancer screening

"A" icon to represent Aetna By Aetna

Did you know that March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month? Getting screened regularly is one of the best ways to prevent colon cancer. A screening can help find cancer even if you have no symptoms. And a colonoscopy isn’t the only test available. There are some you can do at home.

Even if you have no family history of colon cancer, you should get a screening starting at 45 years old.1 If you’re African American, your risk is greater. Talk to your doctor about when to start getting screened for colon cancer.

Prepare and prevent

You may be eligible for any of the preventive screening tests below at no cost with an in-network provider.

Every year

FIT and gFOBT (these tests detect hidden blood in the stool)

  • Done at home
  • For FIT: no prep required
  • For gFOBT: some prep required
  • Risk-free
  • If positive, colonoscopy is recommended

Every 3 years

Cologuard® stool DNA test (detects altered DNA and blood in the stool)

  • Done at home; no prep required
  • Detects cancer and precancerous cells
  • Can at times return false-positive or false-negative results
  • If positive, colonoscopy is recommended

Every 5 years

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

  • Removal of any polyps in rectum and lower colon*
  • Special diet and bowel prep required
  • Quick, safe and does not require sedation
  • Can miss small polyps

Every 10 years


  • Removal of any polyps in rectum and lower colon*
  • Special diet and bowel prep required
  • Sedation is likely; will need a ride home
  • Best test for preventing colorectal cancer

Talk to your doctor today to decide which test is right for you.

Download a PDF of this article here.

Aetna. What is preventive care? The tests adults need at every age. 2019. Available at: Accessed October 5, 2020. 
* If polyps are found and removed, charges may apply.
Aetna is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Aetna group of companies, including Aetna Life Insurance Company and its affiliates (Aetna).
Cologuard is a registered trademark of Exact Sciences Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.
The information provided by Aetna® health and wellness programs is general in nature. It is not meant to replace the advice or care you get from your doctor or other health professional. If you have specific health care needs or would like more complete health information, please see your doctor or other health care provider. Refer to for more information about Aetna plans.

For Aetna Members

Our Cancer Support Center can help. Log in to your member portal at