C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition strongly supports The Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act. Even with the recent passage of health care reform legislation, passage of H.R. 1189 is needed to win the fight against colorectal cancer. While the recently enacted health care reform legislation will lower the cost of preventive services like colonoscopies for many Americans, the health reform legislation will not do anything to increase awareness about the importance of early detection and screening.
Today, even among those with health insurance screening rates for colorectal cancer are much too low – less than half of those who should be screened get screened!
When the national breast and cervical cancer screening program was enacted in the mide-80s, the screening rate forbreast cancer was around 29%. Today, that rate is close to 80%. It is time we made the same headway in the fight against colorectal cancer and enacted a national screening and treatment program!
The Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act (H.R. 1189)
- Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States.
- Every three and a half minutes, someone is diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
- Every nine minutes, someone dies from colorectal cancer.
Screening Saves Lives
- 30,000 to 44,000 lives a year could be saved if colorectal cancer screening was fully accessible and utilized.
- Screening saves lives in two ways, by preventing cancer when pre-cancerous polyps are removed, and by finding cancer in its earliest, curable stage.
- Despite scientific evidence supporting the benefits of screenings, screenings for this disease in the United States remain low – every five seconds someone who should be screened for colorectal cancer is not.
- The most common symptom of colorectal cancer is no symptom, which is why regular screening is critical.
Barriers to Screening Must be Eliminated!!
The Colorectal Cancer Early Detection, Prevention and Treatment Act will establish a life-saving program to fight colorectal cancer, one of the most easily preventable cancers.
What H.R. 1189 Does:
- Establishes a program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide screenings and treatment for colorectal cancer.
- Targets screening services toward individuals between 50 – 64 years of age (the pre-Medicare population), or those under 50 years old but with high risk of such cancer.
- Gives priority to low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals who would not otherwise have coverage for colorectal cancer screening, diagnostic follow up, and/or treatment.
- Provides case management and referrals for medical treatment of screened individuals.
- Ensures the full continuum of cancer care for individuals screened, including the appropriate follow-up for abnormal tests, diagnostic and therapeutic services, and treatment for detected cancers.
- Provides education and training for health professionals in the detection of colorectal cancer.
- Develops and disseminates findings and outcomes data in order to evaluate the program for cost, effectiveness and reach, which will inform ongoing community screening and treatment efforts.
- According to an independent study by The Lewin Group, the provisions in this bill will save Medicare billions of dollars.
Conclusion: The Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act will save thousands of lives and save Medicare billions of dollars.