You might be surprised and saddened to learn that while many states are fighting and winning the battle against colon cancer through progressive legislation, many other states are failing to respond to this highly preventable disease.Colon cancer is estimated to have killed almost 50,000 people last year in the U.S.Half of those were women.
What many people don’t realize is that this second-leading cancer killer is highly preventable–and 90 percent treatable when detected early with appropriate screening. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, if every person aged 50 years or older was screened regularly, as many as 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided.
A study conducted by the American Cancer Society showed that states laws requiring insurers to cover the cost of colorectal cancer screening according to proper medical guidelines have a tremendous, positive impact in colon cancer screening rates.In fact, screening rates in states with the most comprehensive coverage laws rose 40 percent faster between 1999 and 2004 than the rates in states without such laws on the books.
Currently, only 32 states (including the District of Columbia) have passed legislation to require sufficient insurance coverage of colorectal cancer screening.Waiting for the healthcare reform debate in Washington to die down, or for federal mandates to take effect will simply put more people at risk, resulting the more lost lives and higher healthcare costs for everyone.
Thirteen leading authorities on colon cancer prevention have joined forces to bring attention to this issue and encourage all states to adopt legislation that guarantees insurance providers cover the cost for preventative screening for colon cancer.In 2010, only Hawaii was added to the “A-list” of states.We hope that more states will join these ranks in 2011.
19 other states received failing grades (D-F) in 2010 for not requiring insurance providers to offer coverage for colon cancer screening.Please encourage your state to join this crucial fight for life and to help ensure an ‘A’ for your state on next year’s report card by contacting your state legislators and demanding that this issue be addressed.
Tools and information – including specifics regarding your state legislation, legislator contact information and sample letters – can be found at www.nccra.org.
To learn more about CSC’s colorectal cancer resources visit: http://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/mm/Learn-About/cancertype/Colorectal-Cancer.aspx. CSC will be releasing a 3rd edition of its popular educational program, Frankly Speaking About Colorectal Cancer March 15th. More details to come!