Cancer Screening - Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy

This indicator reports the percentage of adults 50 and older who self-report that they have ever had a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. This indicator is relevant because engaging in preventive behaviors allows for early detection and treatment of health problems. This indicator can also highlight a lack of access to preventive care, a lack of health knowledge, insufficient provider outreach, and/or social barriers preventing utilization of services.
Report Area Population Age 50+ Estimated Population Ever Screened for Colon Cancer Crude Percentage Age-Adjusted Percentage
Franklin County, PA 42,597 28,881 67.8% 64.1%
Pennsylvania 3,524,771 2,301,675 65.3% 62.1%
United States 75,116,406 48,549,269 64.6% 61.3%
Note: This indicator is compared with the state average. Green - Better than state average, Red - Worse than state average.
Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Accessed via the Health Indicators Warehouse. US Department of Health & Human Services, Health Indicators Warehouse. 2006-12. Source geography: County

Website Updated December 11 2017 Site Reviewed January 05 2018

Cancer Screening - Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy

Data Background

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is

“... a collaborative project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. states and territories. The BRFSS, administered and supported by CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Branch, is an ongoing data collection program designed to measure behavioral risk factors for the adult population (18 years of age or older) living in households. ”
Citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services. Overview: BRFSS 2010.

The health characteristics estimated from the BRFSS include data pertaining to health behaviors, chronic conditions, access and utilization of healthcare, and general health. Surveys are administered to populations at the state level and then delivered to the CDC and tabulated into county estimates by the BRFSS analysis team. Annual risk factor prevalence data are released for those geographic areas with 50 or more survey results and 10,000 or more total population (50 States, 170 Cities and Counties) in order to maintain the accuracy and confidentiality of the data. Multi-year estimates are produced by the NCHS to expand the coverage of data to approximately 2500 counties. These estimates are housed in the Health Indicator Warehouse, the official repository of the nation’s health data.

For more information on the BRFSS survey methods, or to obtain a copy of the survey questionnaires, please visit the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System home page.

The Health Indicator Warehouse is the official repository of the nation's health data, providing public access to the information resources of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and others. When applicable, data can be obtained grouped by various information, including state, county, gender, race, ethnicity, and educational attainment.


Indicator percentages are acquired for years 2006-2012 from Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) prevalence data, which is housed in the Health Indicator Warehouse. Percentages are generated based on the valid responses to the following questions: "Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are exams in which a tube is inserted in the rectum to view the colon for signs of cancer or other health problems. Have you ever had either of these exams? For a SIGMOIDOSCOPY, a flexible tube is inserted into the rectum to look for problems. A COLONOSCOPY is similar but uses a longer tube, and you are usually given medication through a needle in your arm to make you sleepy and told to have someone else drive you home after the test. Was your MOST RECENT exam a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy? How long has it been since you had your last sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy?"
Respondents are considered to be have had a Sigmoidoscopy/Colonoscopy if they answer that they had ever had a test. Percentages are age-adjusted and only pertain to the non-institutionalized population aged 50 and up. Population numerators (number of adults) are not provided in the Health Indicator Warehouse data tables and were generated using the following formula:

[Persons having a Sigmoidoscopy/Colonoscopy] = ([Indicator Percentage] / 100) * [Total Population] .

Adult population figures used in the data tables are acquired from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2007-2011 five year estimates. Additional detailed information about the BRFSS, including questionnaires, data collection procedures, and data processing methodologies are available on the BRFSS web site. For additional information about the multi-year estimates, please visit the Health Indicator Warehouse.


Race and Ethnicity
Statistics by race and ethnicity are not provided for this indicator from the data source. Detailed race/ethnicity data may be available at a broader geographic level, or from a local source.

Data Suppression
Suppression is used to avoid misinterpretation when rates are unstable. Data is suppressed when the total number of persons sampled (for each geographic area / population group combination) over the survey period is less than 50, or when the standard error of the estimate exceeds 10% of the calculated value.

Courtesy: Community Commons, <>, November 2017