Increase Colorectal Cancer Screenings to Save Lives and Dollars

Published 7:29 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the country. This year alone, an estimated 136,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 will die from the disease. Compounding the tragedy is the fact that colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer.

Half of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented each year if every individual age 50 and older received recommended colorectal cancer screenings. Unfortunately, many people are deterred from getting screened by cost-sharing. While coinsurance for individuals on private insurance plans is waived, Medicare patients can still get hit with a surprise bill if a polyp is found and removed during a routine screening.

I had the good fortune to meet with Rep. Brian Babin last year in his Washington, D.C., office and ask him to support the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act in the last Congress. I’m urging him to stand up for seniors again by signing back onto this bill in this Congress. By removing this barrier to screenings, we could potentially save thousands of lives, reduce suffering and reduce cancer costs in Medicare.

Nancy Neel
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Silsbee, Texas