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Senator highlights cost of colon cancer in the U.S. Special

By Tim Sandle     May 13, 2014 in Health
Washington - While Medicare allows for free preventive screenings for colon cancer, seniors are hit with unexpected bills if doctors take preventive action like removing a polyp, according to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
To highlight this issue, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is hosting a news conference on Wednesday May 14. At the event, Brown intends to announce legislation that would ensure seniors who receive potentially lifesaving colon cancer preventive procedures are not hit with unfair and burdensome costs. The Digital Journal spoke with the senator's office to find out more.
Under current law, Brown explains, seniors receiving free colorectal cancer screenings are covered under Medicare. However, if a doctor needs to take a further lifesaving, preventive action—like removing a polyp—while the patient is under anesthesia, the senior is hit after the fact with an unexpected bill.
Brown says that "not only does this hurt the pocketbook of seniors trying to protect themselves from cancer, it deters other seniors from seeking this preventive care."
With colorectal cancer the third leading cause of cancer death in the country Brown indicates that his legislation would fix this billing problem and allow Medicare to cover potentially lifesaving colon cancer preventive procedures.
Joining Brown at the conference is Ohioan Edwin Murphy. Edwin recently lost his wife to colorectal cancer after she fought the disease for six years. While his wife was low risk, she did not get screened early. By the time of her diagnosis, she had Stage 3 cancer. Edwin, on the other hand, gets screened often because he is high risk for colon cancer, needing 25 polyps removed during his first screening.
This year, approximately 140,000 adults will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 will die from the disease. Colorectal cancer screening is a proven preventive tool that saves lives. However, only about one in every three adults aged 50-75 will get screened. Brown’s legislation, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, would eliminate the Medicare billing problem that causes a disincentive to get screened, allowing seniors to live healthier lives without breaking the bank.
More about Cancer, Colon cancer, Medical, Bills, Healthcare
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