Panhandle Lawmakers Receive Distinguished Advocacy Award for Championing Lifesaving Cancer Public Policy

Award is One of the Highest Honors Presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for Legislative Leadership on Lifesaving Bill

April 14, 2022

AUSTIN, TX – April 14, 2022 – Rep. John Smithee and Rep. Four Price both received the Advocacy in Action award earlier this week, one of the most prestigious awards presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), in recognition of their significant contributions to the fight against cancer in Texas.  

Rep. Smithee’s leadership as a sponsor and Rep. Price as a co-sponsor this session helped ensure passing legislation that makes it more affordable for Texans to receive their lifesaving colorectal cancer screenings. ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, presents the annual award to select lawmakers who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the area of cancer-related public policy advocacy. 

“Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers if screened early,” noted Teresa Prock, a volunteer with ACS CAN Texas and Amarillo resident. “I’m grateful for the leadership of Amarillo’s two House members, Rep. John Smithee as the sponsor and Rep. Four Price as a co-sponsor, on this important and lifesaving bill.  I am so pleased to have been a part of recognizing their work and being a part of presenting this the Texas Advocacy in Action award this week.” 

Colorectal cancer screening rates have been dangerously low across the state even prior to the pandemic and incidence rates are increasing among adults under age 50 and particularly in Black, Latin and rural communities across the state. Under the new law, Texans 45 and older now have coverage for colorectal cancer screenings by lowering the state age from 50 to 45 and covering colonoscopies following a positive non-invasive screening test. 

Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in Texas, despite being one of the few preventable cancer, and it’s estimated that over 11,000 Texans will receive a diagnosis this year.  

The bill passed on May 18, 2021 with a unanimous vote by the legislature, mere hours following the announcement of new recommendations by the United States Preventive Services Task Force which too lowers the age to begin colorectal screening from 50 to 45 and became effective on September 1, 2021.  

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