Health

Clinics, including Cedar Rapids facility, receive cancer screening grants

$4.4 million, distributed by state public health, to increase colorectal screening rates

Exam room 15, which was occupied by Mary Lawshea, at Eastern Iowa Health Center in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017
Exam room 15, which was occupied by Mary Lawshea, at Eastern Iowa Health Center in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. Eastern Iowa Health Center, a federally qualified health center based in Cedar Rapids, is among those receiving funding. (Gazette File Photo)

The Iowa Department of Public Health has been awarded $4.4 million to increase cancer screening rates at health clinics, including one in Cedar Rapids, that are caring for underserved populations,

The money will go toward increased colorectal cancer screenings at 10 of Iowa’s federally qualified health centers or a facility that receives higher federal reimbursement rates to offer primary care to high-need, low-income populations. Eastern Iowa Health Center, a federally qualified health center based in Cedar Rapids, is among those receiving funding.

The Iowa Department of Public Health will receive $883,027 per year over the next five years from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to reach Iowa’s most vulnerable population,” health department spokeswoman Polly Carver-Kimm said in an email.

The grant is part of the CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program, aimed at increasing screening for the second-leading cancer killer in the U.S.

Colorectal cancer also is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death for Iowa men and women combined, public health officials say. It often is preventable by getting screened. If detected early, it can be 90 percent treatable.

According to the health department, seven out of 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer had no signs or symptoms.

The grant, offered in partnership between the health department and the Iowa Primary Care Association, will increase cancer screenings at the 10 health centers to 60 percent by 2025.

The grant will help reach 16,715 Iowans who are unscreened, Carver-Kimm said.

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To receive this funding, the clinics must implement two evidence-based interventions. In addition, the grant “will help fund staff such as patient navigators to assist patients on getting screened for colorectal cancer,” Carver-Kimm said.

The Eastern Iowa Health Center screens for colorectal cancer at a 55 percent rate, according to health department

Of the 10 health centers, five screen in the 55 percent to 56 percent range. Other clinics identified screen between a 47 percent to a 31 percent rate.

More information on the grant can be found on the CDC’s website, cdc.gov/cancer/crccp

Comments: (319) 398-8469; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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