Approximately 2,166* people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 829 die from the disease each year.


*This statistic excludes in situ cancers.


Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in both men and women, and even though it is one of the more deadly of the leading cancers, it is also the most preventable. Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or rectum, and is often noticed as a growth called a polyp. Polyps become cancer over time, and finding and removing polyps can prevent colorectal cancer altogether.


For colorectal cancer, screening is recommended for adults who are between the ages of 50-75 years old. The decision to screen for colorectal cancer in adults aged 76 to 85 should be an individual one made with the provider, considering the patient's overall health and prior screening history.

Talk with your health care provider about when to begin screening for colorectal cancer, what test(s) to have, the advantages and disadvantages of each test, and how often to undergo screening, and when to stop.

The decision about which test to have usually takes into account several factors including:

  • The person's age, medical history, family history, and general health;
  • The potential harms of the test;
  • The preparation required for the test;
  • Whether sedation may be needed for the test;
  • The follow-up care needed after the test;
  • The convenience of the test; and 
  • The cost of the test and the availability of insurance coverage.

Screening for 
Colorectal Cancer: Consumer Guide