Iowa PCA Promotes Screening for Colorectal Cancer

March 26, 2024

Did you know, an estimated 1,600 Iowans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2024? Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is one of the only cancers that can be screened for early; when found at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate of colorectal cancer is about 90%.

The recommended screening ages for colorectal cancer are 45-75. The screening recommendations recently changed from age 50 to age 45 to help detect colorectal cancer earlier in patients. There are many different screening options for patients including:

  • FIT test (at home)
  • Cologuard (at home)
  • Colonoscopy

The Iowa Primary Care Association, in partnership with the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, has received a grant through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase colorectal cancer screening rates at 10 of Iowa’s 14 community health centers.

The colorectal cancer screening grant focuses on the following to help increase screening rates and bring awareness to colorectal cancer:

  • Provider and patient reminders: focus on ways to notify providers, care teams, and patients that they are due for a screening. This can be done through Electronic Health Record (EHR) reminders, text messages, phone calls, etc.
  • Provider assessment and feedback: work with quality directors to identify screening rates and with providers and care teams on ways to increase screening rates.
  • Structural barriers: identify barriers that prevent a patient from being screened for colorectal cancer. These barriers can include transportation, language, health literacy, or financial costs.
  • Patient navigation: Help patients navigate the screening process, provide resources, and be available for support while they get screened and until they have received their results.

This Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, take charge of your health and get screened!