Screening for colorectal cancer: recommendation and rationale

Ann Intern Med. 2002 Jul 16;137(2):129-31. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-137-2-200207160-00014.


This statement summarizes the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on screening for colorectal cancer and the supporting scientific evidence and updates the 1995 recommendations contained in the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, 2nd edition. At that time, the USPSTF recommended screening for colorectal cancer with annual fecal occult blood testing, periodic sigmoidoscopy, or the combination of fecal occult blood testing and sigmoidoscopy but concluded that the evidence was insufficient to recommend for or against colonoscopy or barium enema. The complete USPSTF recommendation and rationale statement on this topic, which includes a brief review of the supporting evidence, is available through the USPSTF Web site (, the National Guideline Clearinghouse (, and in print through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Publications Clearinghouse (telephone, 800-358-9295; e-mail, The complete information on which this statement is based, including tables and references, is available in the accompanying article in this issue and in the summary of the evidence and systematic evidence review on the Web sites already mentioned.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Enema
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening* / adverse effects
  • Mass Screening* / economics
  • Mass Screening* / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Occult Blood
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Time Factors