Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal Cancer Screening in Oklahoma

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer and the third most common cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States.i

 In 2015 it is estimated that:[i]

  •  1,690 people in Oklahoma will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and
  •  680 people in Oklahoma will die from the disease.

Only 39 percent of colorectal cancers are caught at an early stage when the five-year survival rate is 90 percent.i

  •  When it has spread regionally, the five-year survival rate is lowered to 70 percent,
  •  When it is spread to distant organs, the five-year survival rate drops to only 12 percent.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Screening is the most effective way of detecting colorectal cancer early and preventing it altogether.

  • Colorectal cancer screening can identify abnormal growths (polyps) in the colon or rectum, allowing them to be removed before turning into cancer. Cancers can also be found at an early stage when treatment often leads to a cure.
  • More than one in three Oklahoma adults age 50 and older are not getting tested as recommended. Among uninsured Oklahomans, over 75 percent of those over age 50 are not getting screened.[ii]

Benefits of Screening

Getting screened early can be lifesaving.

  • Ninety percent of all individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer, at an early or local stage, are still alive five years later.i
  •  Thousands of colorectal cancer deaths could be avoided each year if people were screened according to recommendations.[iii]

 Improving Access to Screening

  • Free Screenings for Oklahoma’s Uninsured – Oklahoma’s Department of Health receives funding for a program to provide a limited number of free colorectal cancer screenings to uninsured and low-income individuals over the age of 50.   Maintaining funding for this program will preserve a critical safety net for those who continue to lack access to essential screening, diagnostic and treatment services.
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) - Under the ACA, most private insurance plans are required to cover colorectal cancer screening for adults aged 50 to 75 years, with no cost sharing to the patient.
  •  80 percent by 2018 – ACS CAN and many other organizations across the nation are committed to eliminating colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and increasing screening rates across the nation to 80 percent among all adults age 50 and older by 2018. Through collaborative efforts among policymakers, health care providers and systems, community and business leaders, we can reach this challenging yet achievable goal.


[i] American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2015. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2015.

[ii] American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Facts and Figures. 2015-2016.

[iii] Colditz G, Atwood K, Emmons K, et al, “For the risk Index Working Group, Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention. Harvard Report on Cancer Prevention Volume 4: Harvard Cancer Risk Index.” Cancer Causes Control. 2000;22(6):477-488.