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Image: CDC
September 30, 2015

About 25 states, six universities and one American Indian tribe are the recipients of grant funding to increase the screening rates for colon cancer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded a total of $22.8 million through a competitive grant process for programs designed to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among men and women aged 50 to 75.

"Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer of both men and women in the United States, but most colorectal cancer can be prevented," CDC director Tom Frieden said in a statement.

Screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps reduce deaths due to colorectal cancer.

Each grantee must target their services toward adults between 50 and 75 years old without symptoms, low-income or uninsured racial and ethnic groups who are disproportionally affected or have barriers to screenings, as well as at risk populations.

Six of the 31 grantees have been awarded additional funds to provide direct colon cancer screening and follow up services to people who meet specific criteria.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women aged 50 to 75 using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy.

The CDC is requiring all grantee Colorectal Cancer Control Programs (CRCCP) to work with health systems partners to use a combination of evidence-based strategies to increase the number of people screened.

Since the program's inception in 2009, CRCCP has provided almost 55,000 colorectal cancer screening exams and diagnosed 165 colorectal cancers and 8,441 cases of precancerous polyps. In program year 2014, CRCCP screened 13,425 people for colorectal cancer.