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The Voice of the Black Community

Opinion

We can save lives: Increase access to colorectal cancer screening
Congress needs to close Medicare loophole
 
Published Saturday, October 7, 2017 5:16 pm
by DonnaMarie Woodson

We all know someone who has heard the words “you have cancer,” and many of us have fought the disease ourselves. As a survivor of both colon and breast cancer, I recently represented Charlotte on Capitol Hill, traveling to Washington, D.C. with more than 700 of my fellow ACS CAN volunteers from across the country to let my voice be heard and to urge Congress to make cancer a national priority.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined in the United States, yet it is preventable and curable with regular screening. In fact, if everyone over the age of 50 received recommended colon cancer screenings, we could prevent half of all colorectal cancer deaths.

Congress has an opportunity to stand up for vulnerable seniors by closing the Medicare loophole that currently can put up a financial barrier to access lifesaving colonoscopies.

While individuals on private health care plans have the procedure covered as a preventative service, a loophole exists that allows individuals on Medicare to be charged for their screening if a polyp is found and removed during the procedure.

As an advocate for the issues of cancer patients, my meeting in D.C. with Congresswoman Alma Adams was to urge her to support bipartisan legislation that would eliminate surprise costs and ensure seniors have the same access to colorectal cancer screening as those with private insurance.

Right now, Congress can remove an obstacle that deters older Americans from getting a colonoscopy. In doing so, more seniors will be screened which means fewer cancer diagnoses and deaths.

DonnaMarie Woodson is a volunteer with American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

 

 

 

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