Cancer Advocates Urge Governor to Sign Bill that Would Remove Cost Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screenings
Timely and appropriate screenings can decrease colorectal cancer incidence and mortality
Sacramento, Calif. – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) urges Governor Gavin Newsom to sign into law a bill that would remove out-of-pocket cost-sharing for patients needing a colonoscopy following a positive non-invasive screening test. Assembly Bill 342 would also align the age to begin these lifesaving screenings with United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines, currently at 45 years.
Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented through screenings. There are several cost-efficient, non-invasive, easily accessible and safe preventive screening test options that can detect early signs of cancer – but a positive result would require a follow-up colonoscopy to remove any pre-cancerous polyps and prevent cancer from developing. Health plans often require enrollees to pay out-of-pocket cost-sharing for the follow-up colonoscopy following a positive stool-based test, which can be a deterrent for patients with limited income.
“Everyone should have access to colorectal cancer screenings and lifesaving treatment regardless of their income, race or zip code. Eliminating cost barriers will have a positive impact particularly among our rural communities and communities of color who experience higher colorectal cancer mortality rates,” said Autumn J. Ogden-Smith, ACS CAN California State Legislative Director.
In 2021, an estimated 15,880 Californians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and an estimated 5,390 will die from the disease – a number that does not yet reflect the backlog in screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information or to find the nearest screening options, go to www.cancer.org/colon or call 1-800-227-2345.