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Cubin Advocates Cancer Research, Early Detection

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Cubin Advocates Cancer Research, Early Detection

Cubin Marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month Championing New Legislation

In a strong show of support and commitment to combating cancer throughout Wyoming and across the country, U.S. Representative Barbara Cubin signed onto two pieces of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that aim to promote early detection of the deadly disease as well as improve access to treatment options.

"Cancer can strike anyone, anytime and it comes in many forms. It is a devastating disease which has impacted all of us either first hand or through a friend or family member who has battled cancer," Cubin said. "However, the extensive research dedicated to cancer prevention and treatment has made it entirely possible for people to survive cancer. I am committed to doing whatever I can to further this research and move us closer to eradicating this disease."

Cubin agreed to cosponsor two critical bills this week, H.R. 3042, the Medicare Early Detection of Cancer Promotion Act of 2007 and H.R. 1738, the Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection and Treatment Act. These bills mirror specific components of the American Cancer Society's "Congressional Cancer Promise," a pledge Cubin signed earlier this year to demonstrate her commitment to pursuing policy solutions that accelerate the fight against cancer.

The Medicare Early Detection of Cancer Promotion Act of 2007 waives the co-pay Medicare beneficiaries must pay for colonoscopy and mammography services, two crucial tests used to detect colorectal cancer (more commonly referred to as colon cancer) and breast cancer. The bill also extends eligibility for the "Welcome to Medicare" visit from the current time frame of six months to one year after enrollment in the Medicare program. This visit, created as part of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, provides newly enrolled Medicare beneficiaries referrals for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer screening.

"Early detection is the single most powerful tool we have to combat cancer," Cubin said. "It is critical that we make life-saving cancer screenings more affordable and accessible to our nation's senior population."

Cubin also sponsored the Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection and Treatment Act. The bill establishes a program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide screenings and treatment for colon cancer and education and training in the detection of the disease for health professionals.

In addition, the bill gives priority to low-income uninsured and underinsured individuals who would otherwise have no coverage for colon cancer screening, diagnostic follow-up and treatment. The bill is modeled after the CDC's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which currently provides free breast and cervical cancer screening exams for Wyoming women in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Health.

"Unfortunately, the most common symptom of colon cancer is no symptom at all," Cubin said. "It is estimated that 30,000 to 44,000 lives a year could be saved if colon cancer screening was fully accessible and utilized. By targeting those without adequate coverage, this legislation will help us reach that goal."

Cubin serves on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, which earlier this year approved H.R. 1132, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 that was signed into law by President Bush. Cubin is also a member of the House Cancer Caucus, is a cosponsor of H.R. 2353, the Cancer Screening, Treatment, and Survivorship Act of 2007 and has championed cancer research and awareness since she entered Congress in 1994.

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