Meryl Streep has joined forces with U.S. talk show host Katie Couric's cancer research foundation to raise awareness of the importance of early screening for the disease.

The Iron Lady star has teamed with Couric's Entertainment Industry Foundation's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to star in a new public service announcement to encourage early screening for bowel cancer.

In one of the adverts, which will be aired across the U.S. in March (13) as part of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Streep says, "For me, screening was simple and quick. It was no big deal, except for the huge sense of relief you feel afterwards."

Streep said, "I made my husband get screened, I made my brothers get screened... I made everyone I love get screened. It's important to get the word out; people should know how easy it is to go through the procedure that can detect polyps and early cancer."

Couric, who lost her husband Jay Monahan to colon cancer in 1998, adds, "'Icon' is overused, but Meryl Streep truly is an American, and worldwide, icon. She is an ideal ambassador to convey that screening saves lives, and we are profoundly grateful for her support."