Colorectal Cancer Screening: Conversation starters

Everyone ages 45 to 75 needs to get screened (tested) regularly for colorectal cancer. If you are worried about a family member or friend who has put off screening, use these tips to start a conversation.

Start by saying, “I care about you.”

  • “I want you to live a long and healthy life.”
  • “I want you to get tested so you don’t have to worry about colorectal cancer.”

Explain the reasons for getting tested.

  • “Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers. People over age 45 have the highest risk.”
  • “If the doctor finds a growth in your colon, it can be removed before it turns into cancer.”

Offer support.

  • “What part of the test are you most worried about?”
  • “How can I make it easier for you to get tested?”
  • “Some parts of the test might make you uncomfortable, but it'll be over very quickly.”

Here are some ways to support a loved one:

  • Encourage your family member or friend to check out Colorectal Cancer Screening: Which test would I prefer? This tool helps people prepare to talk with the doctor about getting tested.
  • If your loved one decides to get tested at the doctor’s office, help make the appointment or offer to drive them there and back home afterward.
  • If you are age 45 to 75, set an example – get tested for colorectal cancer and share your experience.

Content last updated July 28, 2021

Reviewer Information

This information on colorectal cancer was adapted from materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute.

Reviewed by:
Rebecca Chasan, Ph.D.
Chief, Science Writing and Review Branch
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health

March 2019

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