March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Sheri Bowen is the Agency Administrator for the Mills County Public Health Department. She says Iowa is fifth in the nation when it comes to percentage of late stage colon cancer diagnoses.
Bowen says when colon cancer is caught in an early stage, it’s 90% treatable. Currently 64% of Iowans over the age of 50 have been screened. Bowen says the Iowa Get Screened Colorectal Cancer Program wants to increase that to 80% by 2014.
"The benefit of early screening for colorectal cancer is the sooner a problem is identified and treatment begins, the better the chances of health and survival. So what we want folks to do is pay attention to that message that says that once you turn 50, that it’s time to consider being screened.”
Bowen says if everyone 50 years or older was screened regularly, almost 60% of the deaths from colon cancer could be avoided. For more information on the screenings and payment assistance, the website is idph.state.ia.us/IGS/.