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Health Indicator Report of Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. and Utah. Screening for this cancer is important as deaths can be substantially reduced when precancerous polyps are detected early and removed. The chance of surviving colorectal cancer exceeds 90% when the cancer is diagnosed before it has extended beyond the intestinal wall ([]).

Recommended Colon Cancer Screening by Local Health District, 2016

Data Source

Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health

Data Interpretation Issues

To reduce bias and more accurately represent population data, the BRFSS has changed survey methodology. In 2010, it began conducting surveys by cellular phone in addition to landline phones. It also adopted "iterative proportional fitting" (raking) as its weighting method. In 2016 age distribution changed from 8 age groups to 5 age groups. This change in methodology may affect interpretation of data trends.


The proportion of respondents ages 50-75 who reported having recommended colorectal cancer screening (sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in the past 10 years or having an FOBT [fecal occult blood test] in the last year).


The number of respondents ages 50-75 reported having recommended colorectal cancer screening (sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy in the past 10 years or having an FOBT [fecal occult blood test] in the last year).


The total number of survey respondents aged 50 or older excluding those who answered "don't know" or "refused" to the numerator question.

Healthy People Objective C-16:

Increase the proportion of adults who receive a colorectal cancer screening based on the most recent guidelines
U.S. Target: 70.5 percent
State Target: 80 percent among adults aged 50-75

Other Objectives

CSTE Chronic Disease Indicators Similar to HP2020 Objective C-16: Increase the proportion of adults who receive a colorectal cancer screening based on the most recent guidelines.

How Are We Doing?

Utah rates of recommended colorectal cancer screening among adults aged 50-75 have risen significantly in the past 5 years from 63.5 percent in 2010 to 72.7 in 2016. In 2016, Hispanic adults aged 50-75 were significantly less likely (50.1%) than non-Hispanic adults (74.8%) to report having recommended colorectal cancer screening. Among Utah Small Areas in 2016, SLC (Southeast Liberty) had the highest rate of adults aged 50-75 having had recommended colorectal cancer screening (89.3%) and Blanding/Monticello had the lowest (41.6%).

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Current data appears to parallel previously seen trends, with Utah screening rates being comparable to the U.S. average. Nationally, the percentage of adults aged 50-74 having recommended colorectal cancer screening was 68.1 percent in 2016, compared to the Utah screening rate of 72.5 percent.

What Is Being Done?

Screening for colorectal cancer has recently been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a priority public health issue. The Utah Cancer Control Program (UCCP) monitors the use of colorectal cancer screening tests by Utahns through the statewide Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which is conducted annually.

Available Services

Coverage of colorectal cancer screening tests is required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, the ACA doesn't apply to health plans that were in place before it was passed (so-called grandfathered plans). You can find out your insurance plan's grandfathered status by contacting your health insurance company or your employer's human resources department. If your plan started on or after September 23, 2010, it is required to cover colonoscopies and other colorectal cancer screening tests. If a plan started before September 23, 2010, it may still have coverage requirements from state laws, which vary, and other federal laws.

Health Program Information

In June 2002, the Utah Cancer Control Program (UCCP) received a grant from the CDC to launch a statewide education campaign. From 2009-2015, the UCCP received a CDC grant to begin offering colorectal cancer screenings to low-income and uninsured Utahns. In addition to the screening program, monies were used for educational and promotional activities. Education efforts serve to increase awareness about colorectal cancer and promote screening and early detection for Utahns aged 50 and older. In addition, the Utah Department of Health initiated the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN), a statewide partnership whose goal is to reduce the burden of cancer. The mission of the UCAN is to lower cancer incidence and mortality in Utah through collaborative efforts directed toward cancer prevention and control. As a result of this planning process, objectives and strategies have been developed by community partners regarding the early detection of cervical, prostate, skin, breast, and colorectal cancers as well as the promotion of physical activity, healthy eating habits, and Cancer survivorship advocacy.
Page Content Updated On 11/19/2018, Published on 11/28/2018
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 21 October 2019 16:19:33 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 13:03:28 MDT