Colorectal Cancer Screening

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In 2015, 62.9% of adults aged 50-75 had received colorectal cancer screening based on the most recent guidelines.

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Introduction

The United States Prevention Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 years. Regular colorectal cancer screening is important for preventing new colorectal cancers from developing as well as for identifying existing colorectal cancers early - which can improve survival.  Multiple screening tests are used to detect colorectal cancer, including:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and fecal immunochemical test (FIT) - Test for blood in the stool, which can be a sign of cancer. When conducted annually using home-based test kits for people aged 50 to 75 years, the FOBT can increase the rate of survival for colorectal cancer.
  • Computed tomography (CT) colonography (otherwise known as a virtual colonoscopy) - Produces three-dimensional image of the colon which your doctor examines for colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps. The USPSTF recommends CT colonography for adults aged 50-75 once every 5 years.
  • Sigmoidoscopy - A procedure where a doctor looks into the rectum and part of the colon using flexible narrow tube to identify colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps. Regular sigmoidoscopy can increase one’s chances of surviving colorectal cancer. The USPSTF recommends sigmoidoscopy for adults aged 50 to 75 years once every 5 years, when conducted along with high-sensitivity FOBT once every 3 years.
  • Colonoscopy - A procedure where a doctor looks into the rectum and the entire colon using flexible narrow tube to identify colorectal cancer or precancerous polyps. Used not only as a screening test, colonoscopies are also used as a diagnostic procedure to follow up after positive results from an FOBT or FIT, sigmoidoscopy or  CT colonography. USPSTF suggests a screening colonoscopy for adults aged 50 to 75 years once every 10 years.

Measure

  • FOBT: The percentage of adults aged 50 to 75 years who reported that they had a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within the past year, by sex, racial/ethnic group, poverty/income, and education. For the 2000 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), respondents were asked about both home- and office-based FOBTs; starting in 2003, respondents were asked only about home-based FOBTs. For the 2015 NHIS respondents were asked about both FOBT and FIT.
  • CT Colongraphy: The percentage of adults aged 50-75 years who reported that they had a CT Colonography within the past five years, by sex, racial/ethnic group, poverty/income, and education.
  • Sigmoidoscopy: The percentage of adults aged 50 to 75 years who reported that they had a sigmoidoscopy within the past five years, by sex, racial/ethnic group, poverty/income, and education.
  • Colonoscopy: The percentage of adults aged 50 to 75 years who reported that they have had a colonoscopy within the past 10 years., by sex, racial/ethnic group, poverty/income, and education.
  • Colorectal cancer tests: The percentage of adults aged 50 to 75 years who had a colorectal cancer test recommended by the USPSTF as of 2015 (i.e., a home-based FOBT in the past year; sigmoidoscopy within the past 5 years and FOBT within the past 3 years; or colonoscopy within the past 10 years).

Healthy People 2020 Target

  • Increase to 70.5 percent the proportion of adults aged 50 to 75 years who have received a colorectal screening test based on the most recent guidelines. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggests conducting a high-sensitivity FOBT at home every year; a sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, along with a high-sensitivity FOBT every 3 years; or a colonoscopy every 10 years.

Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Note: Goals are indicated as blue line on Detailed Trend Graphs.

Data Source

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, 1987–2015.

Trends and Most Recent EstimatesHelp with navigating the graphs and data tables

Guideline Screening

By Sex
Colorectal test use rates¹ for adults aged 50-75 years by sex, 2000-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Colorectal test use rates¹ for adults aged 50-75 years by sex, 2000-2015 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 62.9 (61.6 - 64.2)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 62.4 (60.6 - 64.2)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 63.4 (61.8 - 65.0)
By Race/Ethnicity
Colorectal test use rates¹ for adults aged 50-75 years by race/ethnicity, 2000-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Colorectal test use rates¹ for adults aged 50-75 years by race/ethnicity, 2000-2015 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 62.9 (61.6 - 64.2)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 65.9 (64.3 - 67.4)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 62.2 (59.2 - 65.2)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 49.1 (45.9 - 52.3)
By Poverty Income Level
Colorectal test use rates¹ for adults aged 50-75 years by poverty income level, 2000-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Colorectal test use rates¹ for adults aged 50-75 years by poverty income level, 2000-2015 <200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of federal poverty level 50.0 (47.8 - 52.1)
>=200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of federal poverty level 67.4 (65.8 - 68.9)
By Education Level
Colorectal test use rates¹ for adults aged 50-75 years by highest level of education obtained, 2000-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Colorectal test use rates¹ for adults aged 50-75 years by highest level of education obtained, 2000-2015 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 46.4 (43.3 - 49.6)
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 58.4 (56.1 - 60.7)
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 67.9 (66.5 - 69.3)

Home FOBT

By Sex
Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a home Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) within the past year by sex, 1987-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a home Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) within the past year by sex, 1987-2015 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 7.1 (6.5 - 7.7)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 7.6 (6.6 - 8.5)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 6.7 (5.9 - 7.5)
By Race/Ethnicity
Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a home Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) within the past year by race/ethnicity, 1987-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a home Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) within the past year by race/ethnicity, 1987-2015 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 7.1 (6.5 - 7.7)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 6.8 (6.1 - 7.5)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 7.9 (6.2 - 9.5)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 7.2 (5.5 - 8.9)
By Poverty Income Level
Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a home Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) within the past year by poverty income level, 1998-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a home Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) within the past year by poverty income level, 1998-2015 <200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of federal poverty level 6.9 (5.9 - 8.0)
>=200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of federal poverty level 7.2 (6.4 - 7.9)
By Education Level
Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a home Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) within the past year by highest level of education obtained, 1987-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a home Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) within the past year by highest level of education obtained, 1987-2015 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 6.4 (4.8 - 8.0)
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 7.0 (5.8 - 8.2)
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 7.3 (6.6 - 8.1)

Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy

By Sex
Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a sigmoidoscopy in the past 5 years or had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years. by sex, 2000-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a sigmoidoscopy in the past 5 years or had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years. by sex, 2000-2015 Both SexesClick to see the detailed trend graph for Both Sexes 60.0 (58.7 - 61.3)
MaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Male 59.6 (57.8 - 61.3)
FemaleClick to see the detailed trend graph for Female 60.5 (58.9 - 62.1)
By Race/Ethnicity
Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a sigmoidoscopy in the past 5 years or had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years. by race/ethnicity, 2000-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a sigmoidoscopy in the past 5 years or had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years. by race/ethnicity, 2000-2015 All RacesClick to see the detailed trend graph for All Races 60.0 (58.7 - 61.3)
Non-Hispanic WhiteClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic White 63.3 (61.8 - 64.9)
Non-Hispanic BlackClick to see the detailed trend graph for Non-Hispanic Black 59.3 (56.2 - 62.4)
HispanicClick to see the detailed trend graph for Hispanic 45.9 (42.7 - 49.2)
By Poverty Income Level
Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a sigmoidoscopy in the past 5 years or had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years. by poverty income level, 2000-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a sigmoidoscopy in the past 5 years or had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years. by poverty income level, 2000-2015 <200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for <200% of federal poverty level 46.8 (44.7 - 48.9)
>=200% of federal poverty levelClick to see the detailed trend graph for >=200% of federal poverty level 64.6 (63.0 - 66.1)
By Education Level
Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a sigmoidoscopy in the past 5 years or had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years. by highest level of education obtained, 2000-2015
Overview Graph Detailed Trend Graphs Most Recent Estimates (2015)
Percent of adults 95% Confidence Interval
Thumbnail of graph for Percent of adults aged 50-75 years who had a sigmoidoscopy in the past 5 years or had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years. by highest level of education obtained, 2000-2015 Less than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Less than High School 43.8 (40.6 - 47.0)
High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for High School 55.6 (53.3 - 57.8)
Greater than High SchoolClick to see the detailed trend graph for Greater than High School 65.0 (63.5 - 66.4)

Evidence-based Resources

Resources are available on colorectal cancer screening to allow for the prioritization of cancer control efforts and the development, implementation and evaluation of cancer control plans. To identify high-risk populations, connect with researchers and practitioners, learn from evidence-based interventions and more, visit Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. –  colorectal cancer.  

Additional Information on Colorectal Cancer Screening

For the public

For health professionals

Scientific reports

Statistics

Year Range

2000-2015

Recent Summary Trend Year Range

2010-2015

Summary Tables

Breast and Cervical Cancers

Recent Summary Trend

Non-Significant Change

Desired Direction

Rising