Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates Still Low: CDC Study Finds

May 1, 2001

WASHINGTON-Colorectal cancer screening rates have risen slightly since 1997 but remain at low levels, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report compared data from the 1999 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)-a random-digit phone survey of residents of the United States and Puerto Rico-with findings from the 1997 BRFSS. Respondents over age 50 were asked about colorectal cancer screening.

WASHINGTON—Colorectal cancer screening rates have risen slightly since 1997 but remain at low levels, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report compared data from the 1999 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)—a random-digit phone survey of residents of the United States and Puerto Rico—with findings from the 1997 BRFSS. Respondents over age 50 were asked about colorectal cancer screening.

In 1999, 44% of the respondents reported receiving either a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) in the year before being surveyed and/or a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy exam within the previous 5 years, compared with 41% in 1997 who reported getting an FOBT and/or sigmoidoscopy or proctoscopy within the same time spans.

The highest FOBT use in the 1999 survey was in the District of Columbia (36.4%) and the lowest was in Puerto Rico (8.2%). For sigmoidoscopy/colon-oscopy, the high was 46.1% in Delaware and the low 20.4% in Puerto Rico.