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National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month --- March 2003

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. This national health observance serves to increase public awareness about the disease burden of colorectal cancer (i.e., cancer of the colon or rectum) and to encourage adults aged >50 years to reduce their risk through regular screening examinations. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. During 2003, an estimated 147,500 new cases and 57,100 deaths will occur (1). However, despite recommendations for screening, many persons who are at risk for colorectal cancer are not being screened.

CDC's Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Control Initiative raises public awareness through the "Screen for Life" campaign, which communicates the importance of regular screening for adults aged >50 years, and "A Call to Action," an education program designed to raise health-care providers' awareness and knowledge about prevention and early detection. CDC also works with partners to support the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a coalition of organizations that educates health-care providers and the public about screening. Finally, CDC funds comprehensive cancer control programs to integrate a full range of cancer control activities, improve community-based education and health promotion, and target at-risk populations.

Additional information about colorectal cancer awareness and provider training materials are available from CDC at and


  1. American Cancer Society. Cancer facts and figures, 2003. Atlanta, Georgia: American Cancer Society, 2003; publication no. 5008.03.

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