Use of Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests by State
Percentage of Adults Aged 50 to 75 Years Who Reported Being Up-to-Date with Colorectal Cancer Screening, by State, BRFSS 2016
This map shows the percentage of adults between 50 and 75 years old in each state who said they were up-to-date on colorectal cancer screening in 2016.
The percentage of adults in the United States who are up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening is going up in most states.
Of the types of cancer that affect both men and women, colorectal (colon) cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Screening tests can help prevent colorectal cancer, but many people have not been screened. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all adults who are 50 to 75 years old be screened for colorectal cancer.
This study compared how many people were screened for colorectal cancer as recommended in different states in 2012 and 2016.
How the Study Worked
CDC scientists used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is a random telephone survey that asks people across the United States questions about their health, behaviors, and health care.
What the Study Found
The percentage of adults in the United States who are 50 to 75 years old who said they were up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening—
- Went up nationwide from about 66% in 2012 to 67% in 2016.
- Ranged from about 59% in New Mexico to 76% in Maine in 2016.
- Went up by 1% or more between 2012 and 2016 in 37 states, with the biggest gains in Arkansas (9%) and Hawaii (8%).
- Went down between 2012 and 2016 in six states (Georgia, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Delaware).
What This Means
Nationwide, the percentage of adults who were up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening went up by nearly 2% between 2012 and 2016, meaning that 5 million more people were screened. But about one-third of adults have not been screened as recommended.
People may not get screened for colorectal cancer because—
- They don’t have health insurance.
- They don’t have a doctor they see regularly.
- Their doctor didn’t tell them to get screened.
- They don’t know they should get screened.
Call to Action
Public health agencies can educate people about the need for colorectal cancer screening, and help them get screened. For example, CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program funds 23 states, 6 universities, and a tribe to work with health clinics to increase colorectal cancer screening.
Screening tests can help prevent colorectal cancer or find it early, when treatment works best. There are several recommended screening tests. If you’re 50 years old or older, get screened. If you’re younger than 50, but think you may have an increased risk of getting colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about getting screened.
Joseph DA, King JB, Richards TB, Thomas CC, Richardson LC. Use of colorectal cancer screening tests by state. Preventing Chronic Disease 2018;15:170535.
- Berkowitz Z, Zhang X, Richards TB, Nadel M, Peipins LA, Holt J. Multilevel small-area estimation of colorectal cancer screening in the United States. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention 2018;27(3):245–253.