Screening for Colorectal Cancer

From the USPSTF and the JAMA Network. Learn more.

In 2016, the United States Preventive Services Task Force updated its recommendations for screening for colorectal cancer. The Task Force (link to recommendation here) recommends the following:

  • Screen for colorectal cancer starting at age 50 and continuing until age 75 years (A recommendation)
  • Adults aged 76 to 85 can make individualized decisions about screening based on their screening history and health (C recommendation); never-screened and healthier adults are more likely to benefit.
  • Adults older than age 85 can forego screening because other causes of death preclude a benefit from detecting cancer through screening.

Patients and physician can choose among available screening tests because there is no information demonstrating that any one is better than another; the best test is the one most likely to lead to patient adherence to screening over time.

Related Multimedia

JAMA Whiteboard: Screening for Colorectal Cancer

The JAMA Report: Screening for Colorectal Cancer

More Colorectal Cancer Screening Articles From the JAMA Network

Screening for Colorectal Cancer and Evolving Issues for Physicians and Patients: A Review

David Lieberman and Coauthors

JAMA | Review, November 22/29, 2016

Population-Based Colonoscopy Screening for Colorectal Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Michael Bretthauer and Coauthors

JAMA Internal Medicine | Original Investigation, May 23, 2016

Colorectal Cancer Screening With Colonoscopy

David Lieberman

JAMA Internal Medicine | Invited Commentary, May 23, 2016

Increasing Disparities in the Age-Related Incidences of Colon and Rectal Cancers in the United States, 1975-2010

Christina E. Bailey and Coauthors

JAMA Surgery | Original Investigation, January 2015

Screening Young Adults for Nonhereditary Colorectal Cancer

Kiran K. Turaga

JAMA Surgery | Invited Commentary | January 2015

A Stool DNA Test (Cologuard) for Colorectal Cancer Screening

JAMA | From The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, December 17, 2014

"BeneFITs" to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening in Priority Populations

Beverly B. Green and Gloria D. Coronado

JAMA Internal Medicine | Invited Commentary, August 2014

Too Many US Adults Still Pass Up Colorectal Cancer Screening

JAMA | News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 1, 2014

Screening for Colorectal Cancer in Individuals at Average Risk: Current Methods and Emerging Issues

David Lieberman

JAMA Internal Medicine | Viewpoint, January 2014

QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Aged 50–75 Years Who Received Colorectal Cancer Screening, by Family Income Level—National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2010

JAMA | From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, February 27, 2013

A Randomized Comparison of Print and Web Communication on Colorectal Cancer Screening

David S. Weinberg and Coauthors

JAMA Internal Medicine | Original Investigation, Jan 28, 2013

Adherence to Colorectal Cancer Screening: A Randomized Clinical Trial of Competing Strategies

John M. Inadomi and Coauthors

JAMA Internal Medicine | Original Investigation, Apr 9, 2012

The Importance of Choosing Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests: Comment on “Adherence to Colorectal Cancer Screening”

Theodore R. Levin and Coauthors

JAMA Internal Medicine | Invited Commentary, Apr 9, 2012

Read more about colorectal cancer from the JAMA Network