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New CDC Vital Signs: Colorectal cancer testing needs to increase among adults

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer among men and women in the United States, after lung cancer. About 1 in 3 adults is not getting screened for colorectal cancer as recommended by the U.S. Preventive services Task Force (USPSTF), according to a new Vital Signs report: Colorectal Cancer Screening Test Use - 2012, released today.

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but only if people get tested. Adults aged 50 to 75 years should get tested with one or a combination of these screening tests:

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) done at home every year,
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy, done every five years, with FOBT/FIT done every three years,
  • Colonoscopy done every 10 years.

Colorectal cancer screening can increase if doctors, nurses, and health systems:

  • Offer all recommended tests options with advice about each test.
  • Match patients with the test they are most likely to complete.
  • Work with public health officials to get more people tested using patient navigators to help people through procedures like colonoscopy.
  • Make it easier for people to get FOBT/ FIT kits in places other than a doctor’s office, like giving them out at flu shot clinics or mailing them to their homes.

People can learn more about colorectal cancer screening at CDC's colorectal cancer screening website. They can speak with their health care provider about the testing options and get the test that they prefer. Through the Affordable Care Act, more Americans will have access to health coverage and preventive services like colorectal cancer screening tests. The tests will be available at no cost. Visit Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY/TDD 1-855-889-4325) to learn more. Open enrollment in the Marketplace began October 1 and ends March 31, 2014. For those enrolled by December 15, 2013, coverage starts as early as January 1, 2014.

CDC provides funding to 25 states and 4 tribes across the United States for five years to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among men and women aged 50 years and older through organized screening methods. Contact a local health department to find out about a colorectal cancer screening near you.

Graphics / Images

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    10% of adults who got tested for colorectal cancer used an effective at-home test.

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    Learn Vital Information on how Colorectal Cancer Tests Save Lives. Read CDC Vital Signs.

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    About 90% of people live 5 or more years when their colorectal cancer is found early through testing.

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    1 in 3 adults (about 23 million) between 50 and 75 years old are not getting tested for colorectal cancer as needed.

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    Choosing the right test.
    Full text version

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    Colorectal cancer (CRC) tests save lives.
    Full text version

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    Cerca del 90% de las personas que tienen cáncer colorrectal viven 5 años o más cuando las pruebas de detección han descubierto la enfermedad en su etapa inicial.

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    10% de los adultos que se hicieron la prueba de detección del cáncer colorrectal utilizaron una prueba casera eficaz.

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    2 de cada 5 adultos hispanos entre los 50 y 75 años no se han hecho una prueba de detección.

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    Aprenda información vital sobre cómo las pruebas de detección del cáncer colorrectal salvan vidas. Lea Signos Vitales de los CDC.

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    Cómo elegir la prueba adecuada.
    Versión de texto completo

  • Infographic:  Vital Signs Colorectal cancer tests

    Las pruebas de detección del cáncer colorrectal salvan vidas.
    Versión de texto completo

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Spokespersons

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Biography

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

There are more than 20 million adults in this country who haven’t had any recommended screening for colorectal cancer and who may therefore get cancer and die from a preventable tragedy. Screening for colorectal cancer is effective and can save your life.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Djenaba A. Joseph, MD, MPH

Biography

Djenaba A. Joseph, MD, MPH

Helping people understand that there are three effective colorectal cancer screening tests available to them can help them feel more comfortable and reduce barriers to getting screened.

Djenaba A. Joseph, MD, MPH - Medical Officer, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control,

Donald Haverkamp, MPH

Biography [151 KB]

Donald Haverkamp, MPH

Colorectal cancer can be prevented. There are colorectal screening tests that can prevent this cancer from developing, or detect it at an early stage, when it is more treatable. We urge all men and women between the ages of 50 and 75 years to discuss colorectal cancer screening with their doctors to determine which screening test is best for them.

Donald Haverkamp, MPH - Epidemiologist, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 
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