The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded a total of $22.8 million to 24 state health departments, six universities, and one American Indian tribe to increase colorectal cancer screening.

Awarded in a competitive process, the grants are designed to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among men and women aged 50 to 75 years. Screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps reduce deaths due to colorectal cancer.


Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, CDC.

“Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer of both men and women in the United States, but most colorectal cancer can be prevented,” says Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of CDC. “Screening saves lives, and funds we are providing the states will support doctors, nurses, and others to save lives.” Grantees receiving awards are:

  • Alabama State Department of Health
  • Arkansas Department of Health
  • California Department of Public Health
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Delaware Department of Health and Social Services
  • District of Columbia Department of Health
  • Florida Department of Health
  • Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
  • Iowa Department of Public Health
  • Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
  • Maine Department of Health and Human Services
  • Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital (NH)
  • Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Michigan Department of Community Health
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
  • Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health
  • New York State Department of Health
  • Oregon Health Authority
  • Rhode Island Department of Health
  • South Dakota Department of Health
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Puerto Rico
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Virginia Department of Health
  • Washington State Department of Health
  • West Virginia University

“We are enthusiastic about these grantees promoting more colorectal cancer screening,” says Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s division of cancer prevention and control. “We know that colorectal cancer screening can prevent illness and death from colorectal cancer. The more people that are screened, the fewer cases of this cancer we’ll see in the future.”

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women aged 50 to 75 using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy. CDC is requiring all grantee colorectal cancer control programs (CRCCP) to work with health system partners to use a combination of evidence-based strategies to increase the number of people screened. These evidence-based strategies include patient and provider reminders, provider assessment, and feedback as recommended by the Task Force on Community Preventive Services.

Each grantee must target their services toward adults aged 50 to 75 without symptoms; low-income, under- or uninsured, racial and ethnic groups disproportionately affected or with geographic barriers to screening; and at-risk populations.

Six of the 31 grantees have been awarded additional funds to provide direct colorectal cancer screening and follow-up services to people who meet specific criteria: Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Michigan Department of Community Health, Minnesota Department of Health, Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, New York State Department of Health, and Washington State Department of Health.

Since the program’s inception in 2009, CRCCP has provided almost 55,000 colorectal cancer screening exams and diagnosed 165 colorectal cancers and 8,441 cases of precancerous polyps. In program year 2014, CRCCP screened 13,425 people for colorectal cancer.

For more information, visit CDC.