Non-invasive colorectal cancer (CRC) screening tests are a key tool to help address disparities in screening, and the impact of COVID-19 on CRC screening further emphasized the importance of having these options.

Earlier this year, a CBS News story highlighted a significant challenge in access to colorectal cancer screening by featuring a woman who received a positive result from an at-home, non-invasive CRC screening test (Cologuard®) and needed a follow-up colonoscopy. Fortunately, she did not have CRC, but unfortunately, this patient was hit with a nearly $2,000 bill.

The story highlighted an issue that we have seen arise with any non-invasive CRC screening test—like FIT and Cologuard®. If a patient receives a positive result on a non-invasive screening test, a follow-up colonoscopy is necessary to complete the screening process. Unfortunately, many patients face out-of-pocket costs for that follow-up colonoscopy, creating a barrier to completing screening.

“It is more important now than ever that we remove barriers and increase access to colorectal cancer screening,” said Anjee Davis, president of Fight CRC. “Unlike many cancers, colorectal cancer can be prevented if caught early, and we need to take advantage of all the tools in our toolbox.”

At Fight CRC, we believe patients should work with their doctor to select the test that works best for them. Ultimately, the best test is the one that gets done. So, it is important that no matter how patients choose to be screened, they are able to complete the full screening process without financial barriers.

Screening Options

The type of colorectal cancer screening you need will depend on your risk. If you have a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer, you should work with your doctor to create an individualized screening plan.

While colonoscopy is still the gold standard of CRC screening, at-home, non invasive tests provide an important option for those at average risk who may be hesitant to get a colonoscopy.

Non-invasive CRC screening tests are a key tool to help address disparities in CRC screening, and the impact of COVID-19 on CRC screening further emphasized the importance of having these options.

This is why we’re engaging policymakers—to ensure patients have options.

Over the past year, Fight CRC has been working at the state and federal levels to ensure no patient faces this burdensome out-of-pocket cost in order to complete their CRC screening process.

At the federal level, we have worked with our partners at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) to engage the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to urge them to remove out-of-pocket costs for patients needing a colonoscopy after a positive non-invasive test.

At the state level, we’ve worked through our Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program to provide funding and technical assistance to coalitions working to implement this policy. To date, legislation removing out-of-pocket costs for patients has been signed into law in Arkansas, Rhode Island, Texas, Maine, Oregon, and Kentucky.

Thanks to our Catalyst program, our advocacy efforts have grown, and we’re now rallying advocates to push for better CRC screening policies within their states. We’ve seen great strides forward over the past two years, and we’re looking forward to what’s ahead. There’s great momentum happening.

We can’t keep up this momentum without you. Your stories and your voices are incredibly powerful. Want to join us? A great place to start is to learn who your local lawmakers are, and to check out FightCRC.org/advocacy to see what’s happening in your state around CRC screening.

And finally, make sure you’re signed up as an advocate so that when it’s time to speak out and get loud, you’re ready.

Become an advocate

Stay up to date on all of the opportunities to get involved and see what we can accomplish together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *