Our focus is on getting people back to screening.
Next month is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and our efforts to raise awareness about the importance of screening are more urgent than ever.
Far too many people remain unscreened, and this situation has been aggravated by the substantial decline in cancer screening resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Early projections suggest that these screening delays will lead not only to missed and advanced stage cancer diagnoses, but also to a rise in cancer-related deaths.
Screening disparities are already evident and, without deliberate focus, are likely to increase as a result of the pandemic.
What you should know about colorectal cancer (CRC)
In 2021, an estimated 149,500 people will be diagnosed and about 52,980 people will die of colorectal cancer. It is the second most common cause of cancer death in the U.S. when men and women are combined.
Screening can help prevent colorectal cancer through the detection and removal of precancerous growths, and can detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment is usually less extensive and more successful.
What our screening guidelines recommend
- For people at average risk for colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends starting regular screening at age 45. This can be done either with a sensitive test that looks for signs of cancer in a person’s stool (a stool-based test), or with an exam that looks at the colon and rectum (a visual exam). Talk to your health care provider about which tests might be good options for you, and to your insurance provider about your coverage. No matter which test you choose, the most important thing is to get screened.
- If you’re in good health, you should continue regular screening through age 75.
- For people ages 76 through 85, talk with your health care provider about whether continuing to get screened is right for you. When deciding, take into account your own preferences, overall health, and past screening history.
- People over 85 should no longer get colorectal cancer screening.
Here’s how you can support our efforts this March:
- If you’re 45 or older and at average risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about the screening test that’s right for you.
- Share the American Cancer Society’s social media content on your local and/or regional pages. Our social team plans to post on
Instagram on March 3, 17, and 24, so please like and share.
- Make sure your friends and family know the importance of early detection of colorectal cancer.
Where to go for more information
For more information, check out the following resources:
And, stay tuned for more details this spring on our return to screening campaign.