Has National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month increased endoscopy screening rates and public interest in colorectal cancer?



National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month occurs each March to promote awareness and screening for colorectal cancer. The effectiveness of this public health campaign is unknown. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month on rates of screening endoscopies and on public interest in colorectal cancer.


To examine the impact of National Colon Cancer Awareness Month on screening endoscopy rates, the National Endoscopy Database was retrospectively reviewed from 2002 through 2014. A time series of monthly number of colorectal cancer screening endoscopies per endoscopist in the data set was evaluated. To examine public interest in colorectal cancer, Google Trends data were collected on the monthly rates of terms related to colorectal cancer from January 2004 to July 2019. Impact of the month on screening endoscopies and public interest was assessed through an analysis of variance. Seasonality was tested for by how well a sinusoidal model fit the time series as opposed to a linear model utilizing a sum-of-squares F test.


Review of National Endoscopy Database yielded 1,398,996 endoscopies, 94% were colonoscopies and 6% sigmoidoscopies, with 47% for colorectal cancer screening. Colorectal cancer screening endoscopy rates were not impacted by the month of the year, and these rates had no seasonality. However, Google searches related to colorectal cancer were significantly impacted by month of the year, specifically March, with significant seasonality observed in the data.


National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is associated with an increased public interest in colorectal cancer based on user Google search trends. Yet, this has not translated into a demonstrable increase in the rates of screening. This presents an opportunity to capitalize on this increased public interest and harness this enthusiasm into increased screening.

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Correspondence to Haddon J. Pantel.

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Dr. Peter Marcello has received honoraria from Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and Olympus. Drs. Haddon Pantel, David Kleiman, Angela Kuhnen, Ms. Caitlin Stafford, and Rocco Ricciardi have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Pantel, H.J., Kleiman, D.A., Kuhnen, A.H. et al. Has National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month increased endoscopy screening rates and public interest in colorectal cancer?. Surg Endosc 35, 398–405 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-020-07413-x

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  • Screening
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Endoscopy