Payne, Jr. spreading awareness about colorectal cancer

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Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (Facebook photo)
Urban News Staff Reports

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and a bill sponsored by Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. in U.S. House of Representatives passed making it easier for people get the help they need.

The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R. 1570) covers the cost for Medicare recipients when polyps are removed during routine colorectal cancer screenings, called colonoscopies.  Currently, patients could receive a surprise charge for the removals, which can cost thousands of dollars.

Payne, Jr. said his bill is necessary to remove the financial fears and stigmas related to colonoscopies. The fight against colorectal cancer is one of the Congressman’s top priorities since his father, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr. died of colorectal cancer in 2012.

“Too many people are afraid to get routine colonoscopies because their insurance would only cover the screening and not the polyp removal,” he said.  “This bill would require Medicare to cover those removals and improve the health and well-being of millions of Americans.  I have fought for seven years to get this bill passed.  I want to thank my colleagues in the House again for supporting it.” 

This week, Payne, Jr.  introduced a House resolution today to recognize this March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women nationwide.  This year alone, roughly 53,000 people will die from it.  But if it is caught early, the five-year survival rate from the disease is 90 percent. 

"If we can educate more Americans about it, we can limit significantly the amount of deaths from the disease," Payne, Jr. said. "Awareness is the only way we can remove the stigmas that prevent people from getting screenings.  Although I lost my father to colon cancer, I do not want other families to lose their fathers, brothers and sons to this disease.” 

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