Gov. Abbott Signs Into Law Lifesaving Cancer Screening Legislation Expected to Save Thousands of Lives
On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate bill 1028 which will ensure Texans can access affordable preventative colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 45. It does this by eliminating cost-sharing for all preventative colorectal cancer screening tests for people 45 and older, even if they are performed as a follow up to a positive less invasive screening. The bill takes effect September 1, 2021.
“We are thrilled that our lawmakers have heard from their many constituents who have been touched by cancer and voted to remove barriers to affordable screening for colorectal cancer,” said James Gray, Texas Senior Director of Government Relations for ACS CAN. “Being voted out of the legislature unanimously and on the heels of the United States Preventive Services Task Force updated guidelines is yet another example on how Texas continues to lead in the fight against cancer through strong, evidence-based policy. If Texans received regular screenings for colorectal cancer, thousands of future deaths could potentially be prevented.”
A broad coalition of public health groups, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC), have spent the last year urging lawmakers to pass this bill. In 2021, it’s estimated that nearly over 11,000 Texans will receive a diagnosis of colorectal cancer and an estimated 4,000 will lose their battle with the disease – but by increasing access to screening, advocates hope to decrease these numbers.
“I lost my mom to colorectal cancer when she was just 51 years old,” said Alex Hernandez, caregiver and Fight CRC Advocate. “Unfortunately, my story is not unique. Expanding access to colorectal cancer screenings to allow Texans to receive timely screenings will save lives. I’m proud of all the lawmakers who championed this effort to remove barriers many Texans face in accessing crucial screenings.”
“Despite being one of the most preventable cancers, colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in Texas,” noted Allison Rosen, ACT Lead Volunteer at ACS CAN and colorectal cancer survivor. “This law removes a major financial barrier that has kept thousands of Texans from receiving their recommended screenings, which comes with the cost of poorer health outcomes and too many lives lost. On behalf of all families touched by cancer, we at ACS CAN, including cancer survivors like myself from across the state, thank Gov. Abbott for signing this lifesaving bill into law.”
Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented if caught early and it is more important now than ever that Texas remove barriers and increase access to this life-saving screening.
“Fight Colorectal Cancer is grateful to all the incredible colorectal cancer advocates in Texas who worked tirelessly to see this critical legislation passed by the legislature,” said Anjee Davis, President of Fight CRC. “We applaud Rep. John Smithee and Sen. Joan Huffman for their leadership and prioritizing increasing access to colorectal cancer screening.”