Get Screened SD – Stop Colorectal Cancer

In November 2013, CDC released both a Vital Signs and MMWR report focused on recommended colorectal cancer screening tests and approaches that can be taken to increase screening rates.  The report indicates that colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer of men and women in the US.  Although the percentage of the US population that is up-to-date with recommended screening increased from 54% in 2002 to 65% in 2010, 2012 data shows that 27.7% of US adults have never been screened.1    “The proportion who had never been screened was greater in those without insurance (55%) and without a regular care provider (61%).”1  In South Dakota, only 62.3% of adults aged 50-75 were up-to-date with CRC screening.1  This puts South Dakota in the lower third of states.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends three CRC screening tests that are effective at saving lives:  colonoscopy, stool tests (guaiac fecal occult blood test (FOBT) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT)), and sigmoidoscopy.2  According to the MMWR, “the potential to increase screening rates exists if health-care providers identify the test that their patient is most likely to complete and consistently offer all recommended screening tests.”1

So what can you do?  To increase testing, doctors, nurses, and health systems can:

  • Offer all recommended test options with advice about each.
  • Match patients with the test they are most likely to complete.
  • Use patient reminder systems to notify patients when it’s time to get a screening test done.
  • Make sure patients get their results quickly.  If the test is not normal, make sure they get the follow-up care they need.
  • Use patient navigators to help patients get checked.
  • Collaborate with GetScreenedSD (1-800-738-2301) to enroll eligible patients for financial assistance.


State and local public health can:

  • Work with those doctors, health systems and public health professionals who have already greatly increased CRC testing rates.
  • Develop record systems to keep track of and notify those who need to be tested.
  • Promote recommended testing options with the public.
  • Use public health workers and patient navigators to increase testing rates in communities with low testing rates.
  • Work with state Medicaid programs, primary care associations, and Medicare quality improvement organizations to help people get tested and make sure they get additional tests or treatment if needed.

1. CDC.  Vital Signs:  Colorectal Cancer Screening Test Use – United States, 2012.  MMWR 2013; 62: 1 – 8.

2. CDC Vital Signs Fact Sheet.  Available at:


For more information on the SDDOH Get Screened SD campaign: