The United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Legislation introduced to address young-onset CRC

By Eric Hargis

The United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in colorectal cancer among younger adults. Colorectal cancer is now the leading cause of cancer deaths in men under 50 and ranks second among women. This trend is expected to continue, with a projected 90% increase in adults aged 20-39 by 2030. Multiple theories exist regarding the cause of this increase, but no clear consensus has been reached.

Last month, Congress introduced legislation aimed at addressing young-onset colorectal cancer through a multi-pronged approach that includes screening, public education, professional education, and surveillance to help identify the causes.

The Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Act (HR 7714) was introduced by Rep. Caraveo, D-Colo., with Reps. Payne, D-N.J.; Stevens, D-Mich.; and Sewell, D-Ala., as co-sponsors. Fifteen other members of the House have already signed on as co-sponsors. This legislation would provide grants to states on a competitive basis in seven areas:

  • Conduct screening for individuals under age 45 who are at increased or high risk.
  • Conduct awareness campaigns to educate the public about the risk factors for young-onset colorectal cancer.
  • Improve the education and training of health providers in detecting and managing young-onset colorectal cancer.
  • Establish mechanisms through which states can monitor the quality of screening procedures.
  • Develop strategies to assess family history and genetic predispositions for young-onset colorectal cancer.
  • Design patient and clinician decision support tools.
  • Conduct surveillance to determine other risk factors for young-onset colorectal cancer.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance provided recommendations to Rep. Caraveo, which have been included in the Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Act, and we strongly support the passage of this vital legislation. “Our existing programs do not adequately address the unique aspects of young-onset colorectal cancer, and this legislation would help empower states to develop new and innovative approaches,” said Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Alliance.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance will be supporting this legislation as a key part of our advocacy efforts, but it will require Congressional members to hear from their constituents for action to be taken on the bill. Please join us in expressing concern about the rise in young-onset colorectal cancer and the need for immediate action. Take a moment to send an email to your representative asking them to co-sponsor the Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Act (HR 7714). Visit your representative’s website, or find their contact information here.

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