About the Program

Screen Out Cancer: Advancing Cancer Prevention Nationwide

Background

Of the cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. Screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment often leads to a cure.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendsexternal icon  colorectal cancer screening for adults at average risk who are between 45 and 75 years old.

Despite strong evidence to support colorectal cancer screening, many adults have not been screened as recommended. Lower screening rates directly contribute to higher death rates from colorectal cancer. Groups who are less likely to be screened include—

  • Men.
  • People who are Hispanic, American Indian, or Alaska Native.
  • People who are 50 to 64 years old.
  • Those who don’t live in a city.
  • Those with lower education and income levels.

Purpose

Highlights from The Field

This video illustrates how award recipients in CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program and their community partners are working together to increase screening rates.

The purpose of CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) is to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among people between 45 and 75 years of age. The program does this by working with clinics, hospitals, and other health care organizations to implement and strengthen strategies that have been shown to increase colorectal cancer screening (called evidence-based interventions), as described in the Guide to Community Preventive Services (the Community Guide).external icon

Learn more about how the CRCCP increases screening.

Program History

To understand better how to structure and implement colorectal cancer screening across the country, primarily by providing direct screening services, CDC conducted a four-year colorectal cancer screening pilot program in five sites from 2005 through 2009. The program provided USPSTF-recommended colorectal cancer screening tests to men and women with low incomes who did not have adequate insurance for colorectal cancer screening services.

As a result of the successes and lessons learned from the pilot program, CDC received additional funding from Congress to initiate the CRCCP in fiscal year 2010. Building on lessons learned in each new funding cycle, the program has evolved over time. Initially, the program focused on promoting colorectal cancer screening among all people over age 50 and providing direct cancer screening services. The program now requires its award recipients to partner with clinics serving populations in high need to implement evidence-based interventions known to be effective in increasing colorectal cancer screening. This approach allows award recipients to implement focused activities on a feasible scale and collect data to measure the program’s effectiveness.

Currently, the CRCCP funds 35 award recipients: 20 states, 8 universities, 2 tribal organizations, and 5 other organizations.

Page last reviewed: February 15, 2022