COLUMBIA, SC – June 16, 2021 – Even as recent as the last few months, as the overall spread of the virus has begun to decline due to vaccinations, roughly in 1 in 6 (16% patients) report a delay or interruption in their cancer screening schedule – according to a new survey from ACS CAN.
As lawmakers begin special session and continually look to address the long-term impacts of the pandemic, ACS CAN is advocating for a one-time $250,000 increase to the state’s Colorectal Cancer Prevention Network (CCPN) program to address the massive backlog in preventive screenings as a result of delays and postponed appointments throughout the pandemic. The House and Senate are scheduled to discuss the provision this week during Conference Committee.
“The impact of the pandemic on lifesaving screenings can’t be underestimated,” noted Beth Johnson, Government Relations Director for ACS CAN. “In March of 2020, we saw a 90% drop in colorectal cancer screenings throughout the nation and over a year later cancer patients and survivors continue to report delays in their care. With so many South Carolinians now uninsured and others still uncertain about their health status, support for our results-driven state screening programs is crucial to saving the lives of thousands in our state.”
Despite being one of the most preventable cancers when screened early, colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in South Carolina. Black and Latin communities across the state experience significantly higher rates of colorectal cancer as a result of later state diagnosis due to lower screening rates and a lack of timely follow-up of abnormal results.
For over 13 years, CCPN has worked to reduce colorectal cancer morality rates among the state’s most vulnerable populations by providing awareness, education and screening resources for uninsured and underinsured individuals. The program has been impactful in significantly increasing screening rates particularly in rural communities and as such, was recently awarded alongside 34 other state programs by the CDC for their success.
About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.
About UofSC Colorectal Cancer Prevention Network
The mission of the Colorectal Cancer Prevention Network (CCPN) at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) is to reduce colorectal cancer through awareness, education and screening. As part of its ongoing efforts, the screening program continues to expand its reach to maximize efforts in increasing CRC screening delivery to medically underserved individuals, launch innovative initiatives that foster participation in colorectal cancer screening, reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer and also address the rise in young adult (<45yrs/age) cases of colorectal cancer.