Use of Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests

2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

The percentage of adults in the United States who are up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening is increasing.

Colorectal cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most often found in people aged 50 years or older. Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives.

CDC scientists used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to ask people across the United States about their behaviors related to colon cancer screening.

Nationwide, the percentage of adults who were up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening went up by 1.4 percentage points between 2016 and 2018, meaning that 4.2 million more people were screened.

67.4% to 68.8%

Increase in percentage of adults aged 50 to 75 years who were up-to-date with colorectal cancer (CRC) screening from 2016 to 2018.

4.2 million

Increase in number of adults aged 50 to 75 years screened for CRC between 2016 and 2018.

21.7 million

Adults aged 50 to 75 years who have never been screened for CRC.

About one-quarter of adults have not been screened as recommended.

81%

Of adults who have never been screened are people aged 50 to 64 years.

Page last reviewed: October 22, 2019