Each year, roughly 2,700 Washingtonians are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and approximately 900 Washington residents will die from it – the second leading cause of cancer death in the country. What’s equally as frustrating is that colorectal cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
Half of all colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone over age 50 received the recommended colorectal cancer screening. The new health care law waives co-pays for people with private insurance, but a current loophole allows senior citizens on Medicare to get hit with a substantial bill if a polyp is found during their routine colonoscopy.
As CEO of Community Health Care in Pierce County and a survivor of colorectal cancer, I thank Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Reps. Dave Reichert, Derek Kilmer and Denny Heck for supporting lifesaving legislation that would remove this barrier for Medicare patients.
Colorectal cancer is preventable, and I’m grateful to my members of Congress for making it easier for everyone to get the recommended screenings. Together, we are potentially saving the lives of thousands of Washingtonians, reducing cancer rates and decreasing cancer costs in Medicare.