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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer related deaths and yet one of the most treatable types of cancer. Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp, or growth on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. While some polyps are benign, others develop into cancer over time. The best way to protect against colorectal cancer is to be screened regularly and treat polyps as soon as they appear.  

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends adults aged 45 to 75 years old be regularly screened for colorectal cancer. Adults aged 76 to 85 should consult with their doctor about if they should be screened. There are several different screening tests that detect polyps and CRC, including stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopies, and colonoscopies.  

Despite the strong evidence that screening reduces the likelihood of severe complications related to CRC, rates of CRC screening, follow-up, and referral-to-care are consistently low in the US. In North Carolina, as in many parts of the country, screening is substantially underused in vulnerable and marginalized populations.  

The Carolina Cancer Screening Initiative aims to increase awareness around the importance of regular CRC screenings as well as accessibility to screening methods in North Carolina, particularly in areas of the state that are medically vulnerable.  

To find out how you can be screened for colorectal cancer, visit the CDC page on Colorectal Cancer or the American Cancer Society Website