Today, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. introduced a resolution, to designate March 2013 National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Senator Robert Menendez (NJ), and Senator Mike Enzi (WY) introduced a similar resolution in the Senate today. The House Resolution has 63 original co-sponsors, including the entire New Jersey Delegation.
"I am very proud to introduce this resolution to designate March 2013 National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month," said Rep. Payne, Jr. "This issue is very personal to me as I lost my father, the late Congressman Donald Payne Sr., to colon cancer just last March. After witnessing my father's heartbreaking battle with this very fatal, yet preventable and treatable cancer, it became my mission to raise awareness about the importance of cancer screenings and early detection to help save thousands of lives every year."
The Resolution will raise awareness about screenings and prevention of colorectal cancer. While colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, it remains the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. Every single day, 370 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and nearly 140 Americans die from this fatal disease. In New Jersey alone, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 4,430 New Jerseyans will be diagnosed with colon cancer and that about 1,600 others will die of the disease this year. Certain communities are at an increased risk, including African-Americans and Hispanics. Preventing colorectal cancer and saving lives begins with better public awareness about screenings and symptoms through federal, state, and local education efforts.
Early detection not only saves lives, but it will provide an exponential savings in health care costs. The cost of treatment for colorectal cancer is approximately $8 billion per year in the United States, and Medicare spends nearly $2.5 billion annually for colorectal cancer screening and treatment. It is estimated that for every one dollar spent on colorectal screening, three dollars in treatment costs are saved.
"These statistics are disturbing since early detection can prevent the majority of colorectal cancers, yet many adults are not up-to-date with their screenings. Preventative screenings not only save lives, but early detection will also save on sky-rocketing health care and Medicare costs down the road. That's why I am strongly urging my colleagues in Congress to support this resolution and raise awareness about this highly preventable and treatable disease," said Rep. Payne, Jr.