Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 22, 2022

Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cause of cancer death in men and women combined. According to the Iowa Cancer Registry, an estimated 1,600 Iowans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2022. However, colorectal cancer is one of the only cancers that can be screened early, and most cases can be prevented with routine screening tests. 

The Iowa Primary Care Association in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health has received a grant through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase colorectal cancer screening rates at 10 of our 14 community health centers. The Iowa PCA is currently in year two of a five-year grant period. Many of the health centers have increased their screening rates during these two years, despite the global pandemic.

The Colorectal Cancer Screening grant focuses on five major areas to help increase screening rates and bring awareness to Colorectal Cancer.

  • Provider and patient reminders focuses on ways to notify providers, care teams, and patients that they are due for a screening. This can be through Electronic Medical Record (EMR) reminders, text messages, phone calls, etc.
  • Provider assessment and feedback works with quality directors to identify screening rates as well as with providers and care teams on strategies to increase screening rates.
  • Reducing structural barriers identifies barriers that prevent a patient from being screened for CRC. These barriers can include transportation, language, health literacy, or financial limitations.
  • Patient navigation provides a representative who helps patients navigate the screening process and offers resources and support during the screening process until they have received their results and is key to the success of the grant. 

The recommended screening age is 45-75 for all patients. The screening recommendations recently changed from age 50 to age 45 to help detect cancer earlier in patients. When colorectal cancer is found at an early stage before it has spread, the 5 year survival rate is about 90%. 

Routine screening for colorectal cancer beginning at age 45 can save lives! There are many different screening options for patients including a FIT test, Cologuard, and Colonoscopy. Do your part and talk to your doctor about the best screening option for you.