- Men and women 50–75 years old should be screened for colorectal (colon) cancer, but at least one third of people in that age group haven’t been tested as recommended.
- CDC’s Screen for Life campaign features celebrities—Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Katie Couric, Diane Keaton, Jimmy Smits, and Terrence Howard—explaining the benefits of colorectal cancer screening.
- Several kinds of tests can find colorectal cancer, so people 50 or older should talk to a doctor about which test is right for them.
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Sometimes it is called colon cancer, for short. As the drawing shows, the colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.
Sometimes abnormal growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps may turn into cancer. Screening tests can find polyps so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment often leads to a cure.
Click to see a larger diagram of the colon and rectum.