C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition would like to thank Representatives Kay Granger (R-TX) and Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) for their continued leadership on colorectal cancer issues in Congress. With the recent reintroduction of The Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection and Treatment Act (HR 1189), they have taken the initial steps needed to pass legislation that in the end has the potential to save thousands of lives.
The bipartisan legislation would establish a program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and would authorize $50 million in funding for grants to the states. The grants would be used to conduct programs to provide vital colon cancer screenings, information and follow-up services to those ages 50-64, with a focus on those most at risk, such as low-income, uninsured and underinsured men and women.
It is estimated that colorectal cancer will claim over 50,000 lives in 2009 alone which makes it the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. When screened early, however, colorectal cancer patients have a 90% survival rate. Disparities play a significant role in these staggering statistics, as being uninsured often impedes access to colon cancer screening tests, which would detect the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage or even prevent it before it starts.
Similar programs such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) have been extremely successful. From January 2001 to December 2005 the NBCCEDP screened over 1.7 million people and was able to detect over 13,000 breast cancers and over 21,000 cervical cancers.
The bill also requires grantees to provide the full range of cancer care, including follow up of abnormal tests, access to diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopy and treatment for detected cancers. As a result, the program will boost testing rates, reduce colorectal cancer disparities and save lives. This terrible disease can and will be beaten.