Texas Legislature Votes Unanimously to Ensure Access to Affordable Colorectal Cancer Screenings
Mere Hours Following New Recommendations by the United States Preventive Services Task Force That Too Lower the Age for Colorectal Screening
AUSTIN, TX – May 18, 2021 – Today, the Texas Legislature voted unanimously in support of Senate bill 1028, ensuring Texans can access affordable preventative colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 45 per American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines – and as of today’s announcement by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) – also the USPSTF’s latest recommendations which too lowers the age to begin colorectal cancer screening from age 50 to 45.
Due in part to a lack of affordable screening coverage, colorectal screening rates have been dangerously low across the state even prior to the pandemic. Colorectal cancer is increasing among adults under age 50. Individuals, particularly in communities of color, are also being diagnosed with colorectal cancer at increasingly younger ages due to varying risk factors and limited access to health care which can result in a decrease in screening rates.
James Gray, Texas Senior Director of Government Relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):
“Despite colorectal cancer being one of the few preventable cancers, it remains the second leading cause of cancer death in Texas. After tireless advocacy by cancer patients and survivors across our state, Texas lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are bringing us one step closer to saving more lives from a highly preventable type of cancer by making colorectal cancer screening more accessible and affordable.
Allison Rosen, colorectal cancer survivor and Houston resident who shared her story with lawmakers at one of the bill’s committee hearings:
“As a cancer survivor, I’m encouraged to see lawmakers commit to such lifesaving legislation that would remove obstacles that keep thousands of Texans from getting tested for one of the most preventable cancers. In 2021 alone, it’s estimated that over 11,000 Texans will receive a diagnosis of colorectal cancer and an estimated 4,000 will lose their battle with the disease. This doesn’t have to be the case. If Texans received regular screenings for colorectal cancer, thousands of future deaths could potentially be prevented.”
This law removes a major financial barrier that has kept too many Texans from receiving their recommended screenings, which comes with the cost of poorer health outcomes and lives lost. ACS CAN thanks Rep. John Smithee and Sen. Joan Huffman for their leadership on this issue and urge Gov. Abbott to sign this lifesaving bill into law when it reaches his desk.
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.