Colorectal cancer (CRC) ranks third among the most commonly diagnosed cancers worldwide, with wide geographical variation in incidence and mortality across the world. Despite proof that screening can decrease CRC incidence and mortality, CRC screening is only offered to a small proportion of the target population worldwide. Throughout the world there are widespread differences in CRC screening implementation status and strategy. Differences can be attributed to geographical variation in CRC incidence, economic resources, healthcare structure and infrastructure to support screening such as the ability to identify the target population at risk and cancer registry availability. This review highlights issues to consider when implementing a CRC screening programme and gives a worldwide overview of CRC burden and the current status of screening programmes, with focus on international differences.