Press-Citizen: Lawmakers can take steps to reduce the burden of colorectal cancer

Letter: Lawmakers can take steps to reduce the burden of colorectal cancer

March 26, 2019

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), I’m dedicated to saving lives from this deadly disease.

Even though colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, it remains the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in America. In Iowa, approximately 1,540 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and 560 are estimated to die from the disease. We must do more to ensure Iowans have access to routine colorectal cancer screenings that can help save lives.

For patients with private health insurance, the cost of these preventive screenings is completely covered. However, due to a loophole in federal law, older Americans on Medicare have to pay part of the cost out-of-pocket if a precancerous polyp is found during their routine screening colonoscopy. This unnecessary expense creates a barrier to screening for seniors, who may avoid this important examination because of cost concerns. Thankfully, there’s a bipartisan bill in Congress that could help remove barriers to colorectal cancer screening for Iowans on Medicare.

We should be doing everything we can to protect older Iowans. ACS CAN is urging Rep. Loebsack to cosponsor the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, H.R. 1570, and close this unfair Medicare coverage loophole. By helping to increase screening rates, our lawmakers can take a proven step to reduce colorectal cancer’s burden on families in Iowa and save lives. 

-Lexi Fahrion, Iowa City


Originally Published at on March 26, 2019 written by ACS CAN volunteer Lexi Fahrion

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