Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

What CDC Is Doing About Colorectal Cancer

CDC aims to reduce colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates among adults aged 50 years or older, as part of the agency’s overarching goal of ensuring that people are healthy in every stage of life.

Colorectal Cancer Control Program

CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) helps states and tribes across the United States increase colorectal (colon) cancer screening rates among men and women aged 50 years and older. An increase in screening rates will reduce illness and death from colorectal cancer.


CDC conducts a variety of colorectal cancer research activities—

  • Analyzing colorectal cancer screening rates from ongoing national surveillance systems, such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the National Health Interview Survey.
  • Funding projects across the nation to identify effective intervention approaches for promoting colorectal cancer screening among diverse populations.
  • Assessing prevention behaviors among colorectal cancer survivors.
  • Assessing the impact of socioeconomic and cultural factors on colorectal cancer survivor participation in post-treatment colon examinations.
  • Measuring costs, cost efficiencies, and potential cost savings from colorectal cancer screening.
  • Assessing the capacity to perform colorectal cancer screening tests and follow-up for the U.S. population aged 50 and older.

Awareness and Education

Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign

CDC’s Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign is a multimedia effort promoting colorectal cancer screening. Launched in 1999, this campaign informs Americans, particularly those aged 50 years or older, about colorectal cancer and the importance of screening.

80% by 2018

CDC is a founding member of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a network of public and private organizations that promote colorectal cancer awareness and screening on the national level.

About one in three adults in the United States has not been screened for colorectal cancer as recommended. To help make sure more people hear this message and get screened, the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable leads the 80% by 2018 initiative to reach 80% of recommended screenings for colorectal cancer by 2018. If you represent a public health or health care organization, take the 80% by 2018 Pledge to show your commitment to this goal.

Other Activities

CDC also contributes to the fight against colorectal cancer by—

Ongoing Work

CDC promotes nationwide colorectal cancer awareness, education, and screening by—

  • Funding state programs to implement specific colorectal cancer strategies identified in their states’ cancer control plans through the National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program.
  • Supporting epidemiologic, surveillance, and behavioral science research designed to expand the knowledge base and guide future interventions related to colorectal cancer. The results of this research help CDC focus its policies, programs, and campaigns on effective ways to increase screening rates, improve the quality of screening, and reduce deaths from colorectal cancer.

Future Directions

CDC plans to expand its colorectal cancer prevention and control initiative to—

  • Increase support for research focused on improving colorectal cancer screening rates.
  • Increase support for states, tribes/tribal organizations, and territories that are engaged in comprehensive approaches to preventing and controlling colorectal cancer.