Along with Preventing Colorectal Cancer.org and the Prevent Cancer Foundation, C3 hosted a Congressional briefing in order to provide Members and health care staff with information about current colorectal cancer screening programs that work and pending legislation that has the potential to save thousands of lives and billions in Medicare expenditures by expanding access to colorectal cancer screening and treatment.
Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper spoke at the briefing about the impact of colorectal cancer on women and to urge support for her recently-introduced resolution. A champion for the health care and wellness needs of women, Representative Dahlkemper discussed the importance of early detection and screening in the fight against colorectal cancer.
“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in both women and men in the United States, yet many people are unaware of the need to be screened for this disease. As many as 44,000 lives a year could be saved if colorectal cancer screening was fully accessible and utilized. Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is about educating men and women to save lives. I am proud to be part of this important effort to raise awareness and help in the fight against colorectal cancer.”
Dr. Laura Seeff, Acting Branch Chief, Comprehensive Cancer Control Branch, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spoke about the CDC’s colorectal cancer control programs. The CDC’s cancer control programs have been highly successful in increasing population-based screening rates. The program began as a demonstration project at five sites, and Congress recently provided the funding to expand the program to twenty-six states and tribal territories. The CDC program is the model for the Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act introduced by Congresswoman Kay Granger.
Representative Granger’s health care advisor, Theresa Vawter, attended the briefing and spoke about the bill and why even with health care reform we still need H.R. 1189 enacted in order to increase population-based screening rates and win the fight against colorectal cancer.
Dr. John Marshall, Chief, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Georgetown University Hospital Associate Director, Clinical Research, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center spoke about colorectal cancer from the clinician’s perspective. Dr. Marshall spoke of the frustration of seeing patients every day in his practice that he shouldn’t see simply because those individuals who should be screened for colorectal cancer continue to delay and/or avoid screening. He also gave an overview for attendees about current screening rates.
The briefing was moderated by Dr. Steven Morris, Chair Person and Founding Board Member, Preventing Colorectal Cancer.org and President, Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates. It provided Congressional staff and other attendees with an overview of the current state of colorectal cancer screening and programs.