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Health Indicator Report of Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes 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 at early stages and removed. The chance of surviving colorectal cancer exceeds 90% when the cancer is diagnosed before it has extended beyond the intestinal wall ([]).


A description of the Utah Small Areas may be found on IBIS at the following URL: []. *Use caution in interpreting; the estimate has a coefficient of variation >30% and is therefore deemed unreliable by Utah Department of Health standards. **The estimate has been suppressed because 1) the relative standard error is greater than 50% or 2) the observed number of events is very small and not appropriate for publication. For more information, please go to [].[[br]]

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 50-75 excluding those who answered "don't know" or "refused" to the numerator question.

Healthy People Objective: 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?

Colorectal cancer screening rates in Utah have generally increased over the last decade, with a screening rate of 62.3% in 2010 increasing to a rate of 69.9% in 2018 among adults age 50-74. Colorectal cancer screening rates across the state vary by geography and other sociodemographic factors. Among local health districts (LHDs) in 2018, Central Utah and TriCounty LHDs had significantly lower colorectal cancer screening rates (61.2% and 57.0%, respectively) than the state average (70.0%). See additional data views for more specific differences between Utah Small Areas. In 2018, Hispanic adults aged 50-75 were significantly less likely (43.6%) than non-Hispanic adults (72.4%) to report having completed the recommended colorectal cancer screening. Those who racially identified as Asian (55.3%) or American Indian/Alaskan Native (49.7%) were also significantly less likely to report having completed the recommended colorectal cancer screening compared to all races (70.7%) for combined years 2014, 2016, and 2018. In 2018, those who reported having received less than a high school education were screened for colorectal cancer at significantly lower rates (49.8%) than others who had more education. Average colorectal cancer screening rates increased with each additional education level attained. Also in 2018, those who reported an annual household income of less than $25,000 were significantly less likely to report having completed a recommended colorectal cancer screening (59.8%) compared to those with higher incomes. Adults aged 65-75 were significantly more likely to report having received a recommended colorectal cancer screening (80.7%) than adults aged 50-64 (64.4%) based on 2018 BRFSS data. There was no significant difference in colorectal cancer screening rates between males and females.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Nationally, the percentage of adults aged 50-74 having recommended colorectal cancer screening was 69.1% in 2018, compared to the Utah screening rate of 69.9%. Current data appears to parallel previously seen trends, with Utah screening rates being comparable to the U.S. average.

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

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 10/08/2020, Published on 01/08/2021
The information provided above is from the Utah 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, 15 April 2024 0:09:23 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Fri, 8 Jan 2021 16:11:13 MST