Colorectal cancer and preventative screening legislation in the US

Even though colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer, only 18 US states have enacted legislation requiring insurance providers to cover the cost of preventative screening. These findings from the 2004 Colorectal Cancer Legislation Report Card were released today by the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF’s NCCRA) and the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA).

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer; however fewer states have passed preventative screening legislation for this disease than for other cancers with lower death rates. For instance, guaranteed insurance coverage laws exist in 47 states for breast cancer screenings; 26 states for prostate cancer; and 23 states for cervical cancer. Despite the fact that 90 percent of colorectal cancers are curable with early detection, the disease accounts for 56,000 deaths every year in the United States.

“For many people a major obstacle in getting tested is the uncertainty of whether or not their insurance covers the cost of comprehensive colorectal cancer screenings,” says Lisa Paulsen, president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. “EIF’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance has teamed up with AGA to clearly explain state laws and reinforce the importance of preventative screenings as the first step to beating colorectal cancer.”

The 2004 Colorectal Cancer Screening Legislation Report Card is a comprehensive analysis of the varied and complex state laws governing insurance coverage for preventative colorectal cancer screenings. EIF’s NCCRA and AGA encourage states without legislation to take action. The full report is available at www.eif.nccra.org.

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