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Colorectal Cancer Screening, Prevention and Treatment

Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of death from cancer in the United States for men and women. Beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should have a colonoscopy every ten years. Colorectal cancer can be prevented and treated through routine screening and early detection. Experts estimate that 90% of colorectal cancer deaths could be eliminated if everyone over age 50 were screened. 

The Affordable Care Act waived the beneficiary deductible and coninsurance for colorectal cancer screenings, which includes colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and fecal occult blood testing. However, Medicare beneficiaries must still pay coinsurance when their screening colonoscopy involves the removal of a polyp or other tissue. ASGE believes that this policy is inconsistent and unfair to Medicare beneficiaries who have no way of knowing whether or not this preventive measure will result in a coninsurance payment. ASGE is working with legislators to rectify this counterproductive policy. 

ASGE also continues to advocate for increased funding for the Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CRCCP provides funding to 25 states and four tribal organizations across the United States for the purpose of increasing colorectal cancer screening rates among men and women age 50 years and older. The majority (two-thirds) of CRCCP funds are used for public education and outreach strategies. Funded sites can also use up to one-third of funds to provide no-cost colorectal cancer screenings to eligible low-income individuals aged 50 to 64 who are underinsured or uninsured. 

ASGE Advocacy Efforts