Why is screening for colorectal cancer important?

Public health organizations such as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that men and women over the age of 50 should be routinely screened for colorectal cancer. If you are considered average risk then yearly screening may be right for you. Colorectal cancer is a preventable and highly treatable cancer if caught at an early stage. 

Colorectal cancer screening saves lives in two important ways:

  1. By finding and removing precancerous polyps before they become cancerous
  2. By detecting the cancer early when it is most treatable

In a study conducted by the American Cancer Society*, mortality rates caused by colorectal cancer decreased by an average of 2.5% per year between 2005 to 2014. Prior to this, declines in mortality rate between 1975 to 2000 were due to screening (53%), changing patterns in CRC risk factors (35%), and better treatment (12%).