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Colon Cancer Awareness Month Should be About Screening, Not Sequestration

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Resolutions Introduced in U.S. House and Senate

February 14, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 14, 2013 –Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate today recognized the importance of colorectal cancer screening by introducing resolutions designating March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Congressional action comes just weeks before across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, are set to take effect, which could sharply reduce federal funding for colorectal cancer screening programs that serve uninsured and underinsured patients through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as for other proven early detection and prevention programs and research projects.

Sponsored by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), the resolutions recognize the importance of regular screening and the fact that 40 percent of adults aged 50 and older are not receiving recommended screenings. The House resolution also calls on the president to issue a National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month awareness proclamation.

“We commend Senator Enzi and Representative Payne for recognizing the importance of colon cancer screening, which can prevent cancer and save lives,” said Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “We urge lawmakers to work together to protect federal funding that supports lifesaving cancer screening programs and research from the threat of sequestration.”

If sequestration goes into effect, it would drastically cut funding for the CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Program (CRCCP), which currently provides funding to 25 states and four tribal organizations for implementation of colorectal cancer education, awareness and screening programs for low-income and uninsured men and women. Sequestration would also cause federal funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to revert to 2008 levels, jeopardizing critical colorectal cancer research through efforts such as the NCI’s Specialized Programs of Research Excellence, which enables rapid and efficient movement of basic scientific findings into clinical settings.

Also known as colon cancer, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the nation for men and women combined. Each year, more than 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed and approximately 50,000 preventable deaths occur. Annually, medical expenditures related to colorectal cancer costs about $14 billion.

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit

Lauren Walens or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (202) 661-5711
Email: or

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ACS CAN is the nation's leading cancer advocacy organization that is working every day to make cancer issues a national priority. More

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