All information about colon cancer prevention

What is colorectal cancer screening?

Colorectal cancer screening is part of the statutory screening programs. Its purpose is to detect colorectal cancer (or its precursors) as early as possible. The smaller the tumor and the less it has spread, the better the chances of a cure. This is very important because colorectal cancer is very common: In Germany, it is the second most common cancer in women and the third most common in men.

General colorectal cancer screening

The general colorectal cancer screening program applies to people who are not at specific risk for colorectal cancer.

Immunological stool test (iFOBT)

However, it can also happen that the test is performed at a time when an intestinal polyp or tumor is not bleeding. A negative result therefore does not offer 100 percent certainty that no colorectal cancer is present.

If the test delivers a positive result, the exact cause must be clarified. Thus, colorectal cancer can be clearly detected with a colonoscopy.


Fine instruments can also be inserted via the endoscope if required. With their help, the doctor can take tissue samples and cut out intestinal polyps for precise laboratory analysis. In almost all cases, initially harmless intestinal polyps form the starting point of intestinal cancer. Prevention therefore also consists of removing suspicious polyps.

Legal entitlement: Women over 55 and men over 50 are entitled to at least two colonoscopies. If the first colonoscopy remains unremarkable, the second colonoscopy will be paid for by the health insurers after ten years at the earliest (colorectal cancer develops slowly). Alternatively, those who do not wish to have a colonoscopy are entitled to an immunological test every two years.

Digital rectal examination

The digital-rectal examination is very important: colorectal cancer often develops in the rectum (rectal cancer). It can sometimes be felt directly during the examination. That’s why doctors recommend that everyone over the age of 50 undergo a digital rectal examination once a year.

Colorectal cancer screening in patients at risk

An individualized colorectal cancer screening plan is also advisable for the chronic inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis.

It is best to clarify whether the costs will be covered by the statutory health insurance before the examination.

Colorectal cancer screening: What can I do myself?

Effective colorectal cancer screening does not only include participation in the recommended screening examinations. Everyone can also prevent colorectal cancer themselves with a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat a diet low in meat and high in fiber with plenty of fruits and vegetables. A diet high in meat and fat with little fiber promotes the development of colorectal cancer.
  • Lack of exercise is another risk factor for colorectal cancer. So be physically active on a regular basis!

Obesity and type 2 diabetes also promote the development of colorectal cancer due to elevated insulin levels (insulin generally stimulates cell growth). Overweight people and diabetics should therefore take colorectal cancer screening particularly seriously.