NC Cancer Prevention and Control Branch: Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is largely preventable. It is estimated that 40 out of 100 deaths from late stage colorectal cancer are preventable if all adults aged 50 and older were routinely screened.

Colorectal Cancer in North Carolina

Colon cancer was the 2nd leading cause of death in North Carolina in 2012. There were 1,533 colorectal cancer deaths in 2012 and over 7,550 deaths from 2008-2012 in North Carolina. 1 According to the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 70.6 percent of North Carolina adults over age 50 “ever had a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy screening for colorectal cancer.” 2 It is estimated that between 2007 and 2011, about 40 out of every 100 deaths from late-stage colorectal cancer could have been prevented if all men and women aged 50 years or older were routinely screened.

What are Some Risk Factors?

  • Increasing age
  • Colorectal polyps
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions of the colon such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • Tobacco use, long-term smoking and secondhand smoking

Services Offered

  • Through the N.C. State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan we work to ensure a comprehensive and collaborative approach to address the state’s cancer burden.
  • Promote Screening, Outreach and Education Services and theuse of nationally recommended colorectal cancer screening guidelines.
  • Conduct targeted outreach using evidence-based strategies to decrease disparities in colorectal cancer mortality. These efforts focus on population groups who experience high mortality rates from colorectal cancer.
  • Coordinate partnerships to promote healthy lifestyles, early detection, educate about cancer symptoms, increase access to treatment and care and enhance cancer survivors' quality of life.

Screening Recommendations

The N.C. Cancer Prevention and Control Branch and CDC support informed decision making, which means men and women should talk with their doctors to learn the nature and risks of colorectal cancer, understand the benefits and risks of the screening tests, and decide which colon cancer screening is right for them.


  • Blue Kit Awareness Campaign with local health departments, senior centers
  • Establishment of NC Colorectal Roundtable for partners interested in reducing colorectal cancer in NC

Colorectal Cancer


  1. State Center for Health Statistics, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. North Carolina Central Cancer Registry. Statistics and Reports:
  2. State Center for Health Statistics, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey 2012.

Cancer Branch Information


Last Modified: 03-01-2023