CDC Expands Screening for Uninsured

The Centers for Disease Control has awarded $22 million to 26 states and tribal organizations to provide colorectal cancer screening to the uninsured and underinsured from age 50 to 64.

Through the Colorectal Cancer Control Program, five-year grants ranging from $358,283 to $1.1 million will support support screening and diagnostic follow–up care, data collection, outreach and public education, health care provider education, and program evaluation.  Projects can choose from among recommended screening methods including colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or stool tests.

The new funding builds on the successful CDC Colorectal Cancer Screening Demonstration Program in five sites across the US, including Baltimore, Long Island, Seattle and King County, Nebraska, and Missouri.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, pointed out,

Colorectal cancer kills more people than any other cancer except lung cancer. These colorectal cancer screening awards will save lives. We need to reach more adults aged 50 and over and others at high risk to prevent colorectal cancer.

Laura Seeff, M.D., the medical director of CDC′s colorectal cancer screening efforts, continued,

Screening tests can detect colorectal cancer at its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. This screening program has tremendous potential to address the disparities that exist in colorectal cancer screening and to save lives.

What This Means for Colorectal Cancer Prevention

C3 applauds this CDC initiative to reach and screen more uninsured people and people whose insurance does not cover colorectal cancer screening.  There is good evidence that screening saves lives.

However, we remain committed to see that all Americans can be screened for colorectal cancer using any of the recommended screening methods that they choose in consultation with their doctors.

  • We support the passage of HR 1189  — the Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act — which would provide colorectal cancer screening to all uninsured and underinsured  Americans and treatment for colorectal cancers detected during screening as part of the program.
  • We also support all efforts to provide full insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screening.

President Obama recognizes the value of colorectal cancer screening when he called it out in  his speech to Congress on September 9, 2009:

And insurance companies will be required to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies. Because there’s no reason we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and colon cancer before they get worse. That makes sense. It saves money and it saves lives

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