About Colorectal Cancer Control Program

Key points

  • CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program increases colorectal cancer screening among people who are 45 to 75 years old.
A patient with her doctor


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 works with clinics, hospitals, and other health care organizations to use and strengthen strategies that have been shown to increase colorectal cancer screening (called evidence-based interventions). These strategies are described in the Guide to Community Preventive Services (the Community Guide).

Program history

To understand better how to provide colorectal cancer screening across the country, primarily by providing direct screening services, CDC conducted a 4-year colorectal cancer screening pilot program in five sites from 2005 through 2009. The program provided colorectal cancer screening tests recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to men and women with low incomes who did not have enough insurance for colorectal cancer screening services.

Because of the pilot's success, CDC received additional funding from Congress to start the CRCCP in fiscal year 2009. Building on lessons learned, the program has evolved over time. Initially, the program promoted colorectal cancer screening for people who were 50 or older and provided cancer screening services. The program now requires its award recipients to partner with clinics serving high-need populations. This approach allows award recipients to implement activities on a feasible scale and collect data to measure the program's effectiveness.

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

Importance of screening

Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is a leading cause of cancer death 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 US Preventive Services Task Force recommends 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.

Highlights from the Field

This video illustrates how CRCCP award recipients and their community partners work together to increase colorectal cancer screening.