Payne Vows to Remain a Strong Advocate in Fighting Colorectal Cancer

Mar 21, 2013 Issues: Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Payne, Jr. met with Fight Colorectal Cancer survivors and advocates this week to raise awareness around the importance of lifesaving colorectal cancer screenings.  The group is pictured here doing their signature strong arm pose.

The group shared their personal stories in combating colorectal cancer, and they stressed the need to raise awareness about the leading cause of cancer death in the nation as well as increased funding for treatment. Every year, an estimated 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and another 50,000 American men and women die each year from this treatable disease.  The key is catching the cancer early, yet far too many people forgo screenings.

“There is a stigma around colorectal cancer screenings as many people tell me the process is too invasive,” said Rep. Payne, Jr.  “But my response to them is ‘Be a man. Get tested. You might just save your own life.’  And the truth is many lives can be saved – both women and men – if people receive preventative cancer screenings, and they don’t wait too late in life before seeing their doctor.” 

Congressman Payne Jr. thanked the survivors for sharing their stories and urged them to continue to visit Capitol Hill as often as they can to be outspoken advocates to every Member of Congress. Congressman Payne, Jr. has championed the cause, requesting $70 million to be appropriated to cancer screenings and educating the public about the disease. Currently, only 25 states have the appropriate funding to provide preventative cancer screenings, whereas Rep. Payne, Jr.’s request would expand this testing to all 50 states.  

Furthermore, Rep. Payne, Jr. has cosponsored H.R. 1070, The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, which will correct an oversight in current law that requires many Medicare beneficiaries to pay the coinsurance for their colorectal cancer screenings.  Right now, colonoscopies are free and covered under Medicare. However, if a polyp is found and removed during testing, the procedure is reclassified, and the patient must pay the coinsurance for their screening, which could amount to anywhere between $100 and $300. For seniors or low-income families, this is a grocery bill, a prescription refill, or housing money. The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer would remove this oversight in the law and ensure that seniors can receive this life saving screening.

“Preventative cancer screenings not only save lives, but they help reduce health care costs down the road,” Rep. Payne, Jr. said. “For every $1 spent on cancer screenings, $3 is spent on treatment of colorectal cancer.  Raising awareness around this issue and providing the appropriate funding for cancer screenings is a no-brainer, and I will continue to be an outspoken advocate in Washington.”