March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer often goes undiagnosed until it has spread, but awareness saves lives! With screening, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers because it is highly treatable if caught early. Promise Community Health Center and Sioux Center Health are excited to announce their partnership together to fight colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum, it is also called colon cancer, for short. Sometimes abnormal growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps may turn into cancer. Screening tests can find polyps so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment works best.
In 2020, Promise Community Health Center was chosen as a partner in a 5-year, $4.4 million-dollar cooperative agreement with Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to increase colorectal cancer screening rates. The goal is to increase colorectal cancer screening rates in 10 of Iowa’s federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to 60% by 2025.
Promise Community Health Center routinely screens and identifies patients who are high risk for colorectal cancer and need a follow-up, diagnostic colonoscopy. Often these patients are without insurance or the ability to pay for this procedure.
Sioux Center Health has partnered with Promise Community Health Center to provide these diagnostic colonoscopies to patients who cannot afford them. Funding from the IDPH agreement can be used for patient assistance so that the colonoscopy is at no cost to the patient. Once a patient is identified as eligible, Sioux Center Health staff and Promise staff work together to help the patient through the process of completing their colonoscopy at Sioux Center Health. The ability to have this at no cost is a potentially life-saving opportunity for members in our communities to get the screening they need.