Polk County Health Department

Colorectal Cancer

Warning signs:

  • Change in bowel habits
  • Pelvic gas pain
  • Persistent constipation, diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Rectal bleeding


  • A diet high in animal fat and low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber can increase risk
  • Cigarette smoking/chewing tobacco
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Little or no exercise
  • Overweight/Obese


  • Men and women over 50
  • Men and women over 40 with a history of cancer, or cancer in family

What to do:

  • Fecal Occult blood test every year
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Double contrast barium enema every five years

It's a fact:

  • Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.
  • Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp that later can become cancerous
  • Polyps can be removed before they cause trouble thus preventing cancer
  • Early detection of small cancers reduces the likelihood of major surgery

Iowa Get Screened: Colorectal Cancer Program

The Polk County Health Department is participating in a new colon cancer screening program launched by The Iowa Department of Public Health. The Iowa Get Screened: Colorectal Cancer Program is committed to rasiing awareness, and promoting colon cancer screening in an effort to save lives from one of the deadliest, yet most preventable diseases. To participate in the program, you must be between the ages of 50-64, be uninsured or underinsured, have a household income of up to 250% of the federal poverty guideline, and have not previously been screened for colorectal cancer according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines. For more information, or to see if you qualify, please call the Health Department 515-286-2192.

Contact Us

Phone: (515)-286-3798
Fax: (515)-286-2033
Toll free: 866-209-1300

Address: 1907, Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314