U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., received the National Distinguished Advocacy Award from the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network Tuesday for his support of the “Removing Barriers on Colorectal Cancer Screening Act.” The legislation was introduced by Sens. Wicker and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in March 2015.
“I am honored to receive this award, and I applaud the work of the American Cancer Society in fighting one of our nation’s biggest challenges,” Wicker said. “Early detection screenings are essential in the treatment of many cancers – including colon cancer. It is important that these life-saving practices be both accessible and affordable to America’s seniors.”
Wicker accepted the award – the highest honor bestowed on policymakers by the American Cancer Society – at the Cancer Action Network’s National Distinguished Advocacy Awards breakfast.
Two-thirds of colorectal cancers occur in Medicare-age individuals. Currently, Medicare bills a screening as a “procedure” if a polyp is removed or found during a traditionally covered, preventive colonoscopy, prompting an unexpected copay for the patient. The “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act” would allow patients to receive important screenings without this additional financial risk. The legislation would waive the Medicare beneficiary coinsurance when a polyp or other tissue is removed during the colonoscopy screening.
Estimates show that there will be more that 1.6 million new cancer cases diagnosed in the United States this year. Mississippi has one of the highest rates of colon cancer in the nation. Researchers with the American Cancer Society recently identified three geographic “hot spots” for color cancer death rates – one of which was the lower Mississippi Delta.