Rep. Payne, Jr.’s Statement on the Dangers of Colon Cancer after Chadwick Boseman’s Passing

September 1, 2020
Press Release

Media Contact:  Patrick Wright   --

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. released the following statement regarding the dangers of colon cancer, particularly in African-American communities.  Rep. Payne, Jr. has made awareness and treatment of colorectal cancer one of his top priorities in Congress since his father, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr., died of the disease in 2012.  The statement comes in response to the sudden and tragic death of renowned actor Chadwick Boseman, known for his portrayal of the Marvel Comic superhero Black Panther, on August 28, 2020. 

“Chadwick Boseman’s death was very personal to me because I know what it feels like to lose a loved one suddenly to colon cancer,” said Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “Colorectal cancer is a silent killer of more than 50,000 Americans every year.  Men are 30 percent more likely to get it than women and Black Americans are 40 percent more likely to die from it.  That is why it is so important for everyone to get cancer screenings and get them early if you have a history of this cancer in your family.  My condolences and prayers are with Chadwick’s family, friends and millions of fans around the world during this terrible loss.  But I do hope his passing encourages more people, especially Black men, to take this disease seriously and get screened regularly.”

Congressman Payne, Jr. has taken several actions to improve awareness and treatment of colorectal cancer during his time in Congress.  He introduced the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R. 1570), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019 as part of the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3).  The bill would fix a Medicare glitch that could cause Medicare beneficiaries who undergo a colonoscopy to receive a surprise bill if polyps are removed during that screening.  The bill currently has 340 cosponsors.     

Rep. Payne, Jr. introduced the Donald Payne Sr. Colorectal Cancer Detection Act (H.R. 1765) in 2019.  This bill would grant Medicare coverage for certain blood-based colorectal cancer screening tests that are FDA approved.  In addition, he introduces a House Resolution to designate March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month every year as well as a request to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to increase funding for the Center’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program.  The $40 million program funds monetary awards for health systems to increase screening and awareness for colorectal cancer.

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