One way the Colorectal Cancer Alliance works to achieve our mission — ending colorectal cancer — is by informing and influencing legislators and regulators regarding issues that impact research, prevention, and the care of people with colorectal cancer.
In 2023, the Alliance will focus on the advocacy priorities below; however, we stand ready to respond as new matters arise to ensure the voice of the colorectal cancer community is heard in Washington and around the nation.
In addition to committing $30 million to innovative research by 2026, the Alliance will advocate for the government and the private sector to prioritize colorectal cancer research in 2023. We will focus on the following areas:
Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP): The second largest source of government funding for medical research is the Department of Defense (DOD). While the program has dedicated funding for eight forms of cancer, colorectal cancer is not one of them, even though it’s the second deadliest. In 2023, the Alliance will advocate for a colorectal cancer research program at the CDMRP starting at the $20 million level.
National Cancer Institute (NCI): In December, Congress appropriated $7.1 billion to fund cancer research at NCI, which is a 2.9% increase. Unfortunately, that fails to keep pace with the inflation rate of 7.5%, which means even with the Administration’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, the United States will invest less in cancer research this year than last. In 2023, the Alliance will advocate for funding that, at a minimum, exceeds the rate of inflation.
Pharmaceutical companies: Industry participation is vital in advancing colorectal cancer research. At the same time, the rising cost of drugs is unsustainable for both payers and patients. The Alliance will support policies that appropriately balance the need for pharmaceutical research and innovation with access to potentially life-saving treatments.
The Alliance’s patient and family support team is always available to provide hope and support. The launch of BlueHQ, an online support platform, reinforces our commitment. The Alliance provides this personal care and, at the same time, we advocate for legislation, regulation, and funding that will ensure patients get the medical care they need. Specific areas of focus include:
Universal health care: The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care. Today, 31 million Americans have no health insurance and others are underinsured. For too many, receiving quality healthcare can lead to heavy financial burdens. Access to insurance is a key predictor of health outcomes. In colorectal cancer, the uninsured are more likely not to get screened, more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and more likely to die. In 2023, the Alliance will advocate for legislation that increases access to health insurance and lowers co-pays and co-insurance.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA): Also known as Obamacare, the ACA guarantees that Americans can be screened for colorectal cancer with no out-of-pocket costs. There have been repeated legislative and legal efforts to overturn some, or all, of ACA’s important protections, and this will likely continue in 2023. The Alliance will oppose all efforts to reduce ACA protections and will advocate for the expansion of the law.
Screening is the No. 1 way to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer or catch it early, when it’s most treatable. We aim to save 100,000 lives by 2029 through prevention awareness and screening efforts. In 2023, the Alliance will advocate for funding and initiatives aimed at increasing the screening rate.
Blood screening tests: Screening for colorectal cancer through a simple blood draw has the potential to transform screening rates. It is non-invasive and can be administered as part of routine blood tests for other conditions such as high cholesterol. However, while blood tests are FDA-approved, Medicare does not cover these and will not until they are recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). In 2023, the Alliance will urge USPSTF to evaluate the data of blood screenings and issue an updated report.
Colorectal Cancer Control Program: This federal program aimed at increasing the screening rate is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This successful program was funded at only $43 million in 2021, saw no increase in 2022, and is slated to receive $48 million in 2023, per President Biden's budget. As with NCI, the Alliance will advocate for the Colorectal Cancer Control Program to receive an increase in 2024 that at least exceeds the rate of inflation.
Whether personally impacted by colorectal cancer (CRC), supporting a loved one, or dedicated to educating and empowering others, these downloadable and printable resources can help.
In this Q&A, get to know Jill Loftus, a passionate and dedicated Colorectal Cancer Alliance volunteer from Denver.
The American Cancer Society has released its latest insights into cancer trends in the publication "Cancer Statistics, 2024."