Colorectal Cancer is a Major Public Health Problem

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. when men and women are combined,1 but it doesn’t have to be. Few preventive interventions are as reliably effective in reducing avoidable death as screening for colorectal cancer.

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Estimated adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 20181

alot of people


Estimated deaths from colorectal cancer in 20181

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1 in 3

Adults ages 50-75 is not getting screened as recommended2

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277,000 & 203,000

Estimated cases and deaths prevented by 2030 if we achieve 80% by 20183

Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates

We’re tracking all major measures to assess our progress in reaching the goal of 80% of adults ages 50 or older screened for colorectal cancer. There are strengths and limitations of each.


Percentage of U.S. Adults Age 50-75 years Up-to-Date with CRC Screening, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System4


The increase in the screening rate between 2014 and 2016 represents an additional 3.3 million adults screened for colorectal cancer.


CRC Screening Among Adults Aged 50-75 Years, US, 2013-2015, National Health Interview Survey5

Ages 2013 and 2015

The increase in the overall screening rate between 2013 and 2015 translates to an additional 3,785,600 adults screened in 2015. If screening remains at the 2015 level, an estimated 39,700 additional colorectal cancer cases and 37,200 deaths will be prevented through 2030.


Percentage of Federally Qualified Health Center Patients ages 50-75 years Up-to-Date with CRC Screening, Uniform Data System6

The UDS CRC screening rate reached 39.9% in 2016, which amounts to a more than five percentage point jump since the launch of the 80% by 2018 campaign in 2014.


Percentage of U.S. Adults Age 50-75 years Up-to-Date with CRC Screening, Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set7


Medicare PPO plans are showing promising gains in screening rates among insured adults ages 65 and older, but rates among Medicare HMO plans and commercially insured adults ages 50-64 were similar in 2015 and 2016.

State and Local Level Screening Rates

The following sources provide state, county, and city level screening rates:

What Systems Have Reached 80%?

Top health systems already are achieving 80% screening rates. Massachusetts is already screening over 76% of their eligible population, the highest screening rate among US states. An 80% screening rate is achievable. Find more information about top-performing organizations on the 80% by 2018 Hall of Fame. Learn more about activities and progress to reach 80% by 2018.

Colorectal Cancer Incidence & Mortality

Colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates have dropped by over 30% in the U.S. among adults 50 and older in the last fifteen years, with a substantial fraction of these declines due to screening.

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incidence rates map 2009-2013
death rates map

State and Local Level Incidence and Mortality Rates

The following sources provide state, county, and city level incidence and mortality rates:

Colorectal Cancer Disparities & Trends

Significant disparities in colorectal cancer screening, incidence, and mortality persist by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, geography, and other factors. In addition, recent research indicates colorectal cancer incidence rates are rising in young and middle-aged adults. Visit the following NCCRT News stories and other sources to learn more.

Visit the Resource Center to explore resources that address these and other disparities.


  1. Cancer Facts & Figures. American Cancer Society. 2018. 
  2. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures. American Cancer Society. 2017-2019.
  3. Meester RG, Doubeni CA, Zauber AG, et al. Public Health Impact of Achieving 80% Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates in the United States by 2018. Cancer. 2015 Jul 1;121(13):2281-5.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, [2012, 2014, 2016].
  5. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Fedewa SA, et al. Colorectal cancer statistics, 2017. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2017 Mar 67: 7–30.
  6. 2016 Health Center Data. Health Resources & Services Administration. 2016.
  7. Colorectal Cancer Screening. National Committee for Quality Assurance.