Colorectal Cancer Screening Highlighted in Health Center and Iowa PCA Partnership

March 11, 2020

As you may have seen on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation a few weeks ago, but too many people at risk of contracting colorectal cancer (CRC) know too little about it. With help from a grant awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Iowa’s community health centers are seeking to improve CRC screening across the state.

Colorectal cancer is one of the lesser known cancers, despite the fact that one out of 20 Iowans will be diagnosed with CRC during their lifetime. It is lethal, as most cancers are, but CRC is extremely susceptible to treatment. Nearly six of ten deaths from CRC are preventable, but despite this, CRC is the 2nd-leading cancer killer in the United States, due in large part to negligible screening rates. To compound this, sometimes CRC displays no symptoms at all, increasing the mortality of this treatable cancer.

The CDC grant mentioned earlier seeks to improve colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) rates in health centers across Iowa. In the terms of this grant, six health centers have been working with the Iowa PCA, the CDC, and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to improve CRCS rates through colorectal cancer awareness, education, and screening. Because the condition and screening process can be…personal… the health centers have wide latitude in determining what process works best for them to improve CRCS rates. The Iowa PCA really serves as a coordinator for the involved institutions, leaving the health centers to do what they do best: provide all patients with high-quality, affordable care.