Prevent Colorectal Cancer

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Prevent Colorectal Cancer

Raise awareness about the importance of screening

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and ASCA is raising awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening and treatment. Along with other organizations ASCA is advocating for federal legislation that would promote screening and save lives. You can make a difference throughout this month by raising awareness of colorectal cancer and the importance of getting screened on social media.

According to the National Cancer Institute, colon cancer is the fourth most diagnosed cancer, with an estimated 145,600 new cases diagnosed in 2019 alone. Over recent years, the number of new colorectal cancer cases and the number of deaths from colorectal cancer have decreased for those aged 55 and older. For those younger than 55, however, the number of new colorectal cancer cases has slowly increased in recent years.

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults age 50 to 75 be regularly screened for colorectal cancer. There are several effective screening methods, including colonoscopy. ASCs play a critical role in colonoscopy delivery, with almost half of the Medicare recipient colonoscopies performed in ASCs.

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Typically, Medicare waives coinsurance for colonoscopies because the procedure is classified as preventative care. When a polyp is discovered and removed, however, the procedure is classified as therapeutic care. Beneficiaries are required to pay coinsurance for therapeutic care. This can be problematic for many seniors, especially those who are on a fixed income.

For this reason, ASCA and many other associations support the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act. This legislation would eliminate the cost for Medicare beneficiaries when a polyp is discovered and removed, ensuring that co-pays do not deter a patient from getting the screening. By eliminating this financial barrier, this legislation would promote screening and save lives. Thanks to your advocacy, the legislation now has more than 300 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, and more than 60 in the Senate.

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For more information or questions, write Steven Selde, ASCA’s assistant director of government and legislative affairs.