Black Men and Women Continue To Have Lower Colon Cancer Survival Rates Interview with:

“Large Colon Cancer Arising in Adenoma” by Ed Uthman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Large Colon Cancer Arising in Adenoma” by Ed Uthman

Dr. Arica White PhD MPH
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC What is the likelihood of reaching the 80% CRC screening rate goal by next year?

Response: As of 2016, 67% of adults age 50-75 years reported being up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening. The 80% by 2018 initiative represented an aspirational goal that public health, non-profit, and community-based organizations will continue to strive for regardless of the outcome in 2018. What do people most need to know about CRC screening and treatment?

Response: Screening can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment is more effective.  Screening also can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed, preventing colorectal cancer from developing.   However, for screening to be truly effective, people need to receive follow-up for abnormal tests, and high-quality treatment for any cancers that are diagnosed. People may think that screening does not apply to them for a variety of reasons, but even though they feel well and have no symptoms, screening is still needed to prevent future problems. What main message would you hope for the general public to take away from this report?

Response: While colon and rectal cancer survival has improved over time, black men and women continue to have lower survival than white men and women, and survival varied by state. This suggests that access to and/or use of screening and treatment services varies by race and location. We need continued efforts to ensure that screening and high quality treatment services are available and utilized universally. What other points, if any, would you like to make?

Response: Screening for colorectal cancer is one of the most effective preventive services available. We strongly encourage all eligible adults to talk with their doctor about which test is right for them, and to not put it off if they are aged 50 – 75. Screening can reduce the number of people diagnosed at a late stage, which means that treatment will be more effective and survival will increase.

CDC’s Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign provides many resources for patients and health care providers to raise awareness about colorectal cancer and to answer questions about screening tests, screening intervals, risk factors, symptoms, and prevention.

Additionally, CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program provides funding to state health departments, universities, and tribes to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among people between 50 and 75 years of age by implementing evidence-based interventions described in the Guide to Community Preventive Services (the Community Guide) and other supporting strategies in partnership with health systems.

CDC’s National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program provides funding to all 50 state health departments, the District of Columbia and several tribes/tribal organizations and U.S. Territories to support strategic, collaborative, and burden-based cancer control planning and implementation.  Nearly all programs implement strategies to prevent colorectal cancer.

CDC’s efforts support and align with the national initiative to achieve 80% colorectal cancer screening by 2018.

CDC is also a founding member of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, a network of public and private organizations that promote colorectal cancer awareness and screening on the national level.


White, A., Joseph, D., Rim, S. H., Johnson, C. J., Coleman, M. P. and Allemani, C. (2017), Colon cancer survival in the United States by race and stage (2001-2009): Findings from the CONCORD-2 study. Cancer, 123: 5014–5036. doi:10.1002/cncr.31076

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions. 

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