The statistics are sobering. The Colon Cancer Coalition says 90 percent of colon cancers caught in late stages are not survivable. The good news is that 90 percent of cases caught early have positive outcomes. Colon cancer often doesn’t have any outward symptoms until it’s too late, so getting screened for colorectal cancer should be at the top of Iowans’ to-do lists. Testing for colorectal cancer through colonoscopy and other tests saves lives, but only if people get tested. To help raise awareness about the disease, Governor Branstad signed a proclamation last Thursday afternoon (March 13) naming March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in Iowa.

Colorectal cancer starts as a tiny growth or ‘polyp’ in the colon or rectum that may become cancerous over time. Screening detects these polyps and allows them to be removed before turning into cancer. "Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Iowa," said Gerd Clabaugh, Interim Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. "This is a disease that often can be prevented through regular preventive screenings, which is why it is so important for Iowans to talk with their health care provider about being screened."

There are many screening options, so talk to your provider to see which method is right for you.

Who exactly should be screened?

· Men and women age 50 or older

· People younger than 50 with a personal or family history of polyp(s) or colorectal cancer

· If you have signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer; have Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, or Inflammatory Bowel Disease; or have changes in your stool habits.

For more information about risk factors, screening and resources about colorectal cancer, visit and