030124_ Colorectal Cancer Screening

Public Health News

45 is the NEW 50- Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal Cancer (CRC) screening is an important step in protecting your health. As we age, our need for cancer screening increases. However, due to an increase in colorectal cancer in people under the age of 50 - the recommended screening age for CRC is now 45. This is good news! Beginning screening at an earlier age, gives a better opportunity to establish regular screening habits and catch pre-cancerous changes.

What screening do YOU need?  

Along with eating a fiber rich diet and taking part in regular exercise, cancer screening is an essential tool in your health toolbox. Screening recommendations will vary depending on your personal and family health history. The most common options for screening include self-tests or visual structural exams.

 • Most self-tests can be done at home and include collecting stool (or poop) to check for cellular changes that may indicate the need for further testing. They can be mailed for processing, and although they require less preparation, a prescription for the test may be required.

 • Visual structural exams are completed by a medical professional. The most common type of this exam is colonoscopy, which is an examination of the entire colon. The colonoscopy requires a prep period to clean the colon, and you may have to take off time for work on the day of the test. While colonoscopy requires a bit more planning and preparation, it is a great tool in cancer prevention, because if a precancerous polyp is identified it can be removed immediately.

It is important to note that there isn’t a one size fits all option, so it is important to discuss your screening needs with your provider.

Most insurance companies now cover CRC screening beginning at age 45. However, if your insurance doesn’t cover, or if you are concerned about the out-of-pocket cost associated with CRC screening, the Iowa Get Screened Program may be able to help. Program coordinators are available in both Polk and Black Hawk Counties.

To enroll a person must be:

 • 45 or older

 • Under 45 with a family history of CRC

 • Meet income guidelines (a family of 4 can make $90,000/ year net)

 • Not currently experiencing symptoms related to colorectal cancer

To find out more contact the Iowa Get Screened Program coordinators in Black Hawk County at (319) 292-2225 or Polk County at (515) 286-3642, or visit the Black Hawk County Public Health website at: