Colorectal cancer is a common cancer and common cause of death. The mortality rate from colorectal cancer can be reduced by identification and removal of cancer precursors, adenomas, or by detection of cancer at an earlier stage. Pilot screening programmes have demonstrated decreased colorectal cancer mortality; as a result many countries are developing colorectal cancer screening programmes. The most common modalities being evaluated are faecal occult blood testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. Implementation of screening tests has been hampered by cost, invasiveness, availability of resources and patient acceptance. New technologies such at computed tomographic colonography and stool screening for molecular markers of neoplasia are in development as potential minimally invasive tools. This review considers who should be screened, which test to use and how often to screen.