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(May 8, 2002)

May 8, 2002

The Honorable Edward Kennedy
The Honorable Jesse Helms
The Honorable Louise McIntosh Slaughter
The Honorable Connie A. Morella

Dear Senator/Representative:

The Cancer Leadership Council, representing cancer patient, provider and research organizations, is writing to express our strong support for S. 710/H.R. 5120. This important legislation would enhance access to quality cancer care by requiring health insurance policies to provide for appropriate colorectal cancer screening services.

Colorectal cancer is second only to lung cancer as a source of cancer mortality in the United States. The incidence of colorectal cancer is approaching 150,000 annually, with more than 50,000 deaths. The tragic irony of colorectal cancer is that it is highly detectable and eminently treatable if detected early, yet many people do not take advantage of available screening techniques that have been demonstrated to save lives. One important reason for this result is the lack of comprehensive screening coverage by private insurers, a shortcoming that will be addressed by your legislation.

The Medicare statute was amended in the last Congress to cover periodic colorectal screening, including the gold standard screening colonoscopy. S. 710/H.R. 5120 would make private health insurance coverage more consistent with current Medicare standards but would also leave decisions about methods and frequency of screening where it belongs, with the health care provider in consultation with the patient.

We commend you for your willingness to champion this important issue and look forward to working with you toward passage of S. 710/H.R. 5120.

Cancer Leadership Council

Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education
American Cancer Society
American Society of Clinical Oncology
American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, Inc.
Association of American Cancer Institutes
Cancer Research Foundation of America
Colorectal Cancer Network
Kidney Cancer Association
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
National Patient Advocate Foundation
National Prostate Cancer Coalition
North American Brain Tumor Coalition
Oncology Nursing Society
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
US TOO! International, Inc.
Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization

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