Power. Progress. Prevention. September 27, 2019

Published on September 27, 2019

Power. Progress. Prevention. -- An Advocacy Newsletter | Prevent Cancer Foundation

September 27, 2019

Help Medicare beneficiaries access colorectal cancer screenings

The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R. 1570) and its companion bill in the Senate (S. 668) currently have 309 and 59 co-sponsors, respectively. Despite the broad bipartisan support, the bills have stalled in committees.

This important legislation would eliminate the coinsurance requirement for Medicare patients who have polyps or abnormal tissue removed during a colonoscopy. Currently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) covers colonoscopies in full, but requires patients to pay a portion of the bill (ranging from $100-300) if they have polyps or tissue removed—which is impossible to know beforehand. For seniors, many of whom live on a fixed income, this requirement may cause them to forgo screening, or may leave them with a surprise bill they cannot afford.

We need your help to support this important legislation. Encourage your senator and representative to urge committee leadership to bring the bills up for a vote—take action today!   

Obesity rates hit new record high

In a new report released by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), obesity rates in the U.S. have increased between 2017 and 2018. Analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), TFAH reported one in three Americans (or more than  100 million people) are obese Rates vary in each state, with Colorado having the lowest obesity rates at 23%, and West Virginia with the highest rates at 39.5%. Health officials are most concerned for the eight other states with adult obesity rates at or over 35%: Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and North Dakota.

Obesity can lead to several adverse health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. It is also linked to many types of cancer and could soon eclipse smoking as the number one cause of preventable cancers. 

Minority communities are disproportionately impacted; nearly half of Latino and black adults are obese. White and Asian adult obesity rates are 25.8% and 12.7%, respectively. Latino and black children both had higher obesity rates than white and Asian children.

It’s important to remember that eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise are effective tools to decrease your cancer risk. Please visit our website to learn more about how you and your family can practice healthy behaviors to Stop Cancer Before It Starts!®

Cologuard® receives FDA approval for younger Americans

This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cologuard® for use in Americans ages 45 and older who are at average risk for colorectal cancer. Previously, approval was for adults ages 50 and older. The product, developed by Exact Sciences, is a non-invasive screening test which uses DNA in the stool to detect cancer.

Expanding the approval to those ages 45-49 comes at a time when colorectal cancer rates are increasing in younger adults. According to the American Cancer Society, 130,000 Americans under the age of 50 were diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 2004 and 2015. The new approved use may help increase early diagnoses through expanded access and availability to screenings. Given that adults under the age of 50 who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, earlier access can lead to better outcomes. Data from the National Cancer Database show that only 1 in 10 people survive more than 5 years after a stage IV colorectal cancer diagnosis.

Prevention and early detection are critical to saving lives. The Prevent Cancer Foundation® encourages regular screenings starting at age 45. There are several types of screening tests for colorectal cancer—learn more and talk to your health care professional about which option is best for you.


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