SPRINGFIELD, Mo. and MADISON, Wis. (Mar. 11, 2020) —
Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) announced today the launch of the Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program, with the help of an unrestricted grant from Exact Sciences. The new initiative will provide funding and expertise to help advance legislation and policies geared toward increasing participation with colorectal cancer screening.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. in men and women combined1 even though it can be effectively prevented or detected early and treated through screening. One in three adults ages 50 to 75 are not screened as recommended according to American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines.2 Colorectal cancer is also on the rise in younger adults,3 prompting ACS to lower the recommended screening age to 45. ACS also stressed the importance of getting screened and following all positive noninvasive screening tests with a colonoscopy.4 Cost is a well-known barrier to screening and often patients don’t complete a follow-up colonoscopy because they fear a bill. According to a large study in one health system, patients who do not follow up on an abnormal test result are seven times more likely to die from colorectal cancer than those who complete the entire screening process.5
In the program’s first year, Fight CRC will award four states Catalyst grant funding and provide technical assistance to support two primary objectives:
- Ensure that insurance coverage is in place for colorectal cancer screening starting at age 45, consistent with ACS guidelines.
- Remove cost barriers for patients who need a follow-up colonoscopy, following a positive first-line screening test.
“Fight CRC is thrilled to launch the Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program and begin working at the state level to implement policy that will increase access to colorectal cancer screening. We are grateful for Exact Sciences’ commitment to supporting advocacy efforts to ensure people have timely access to screening, regardless of the test they choose,” said Anjee Davis, President of Fight CRC. “It will allow us to empower a community of advocates across the country to impact meaningful policy change and ultimately bring us one step closer to a world without colorectal cancer.”
Catalyst grants will help local leaders and advocates build the infrastructure and expertise needed to address these issues through policy change. Applications will be accepted from non-profit organizations (501(c)(3), 501(c)(4)), universities, and state and local coalitions. The program will be guided by an independent advisory council comprised of representatives including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and the Prevent
Cancer Foundation. The council reviews grant applications, selects recipients, and provides grant recipients with subject matter expertise. Fight CRC will award smaller Spark grants to additional organizations in other states to conduct action planning and help lay the foundation for success in future years. Fight CRC will announce the first Catalyst grant recipients in the coming weeks.
“Policy change is most effective when its driven by sound science. We are grateful that our partners at Exact Sciences and Fight CRC are teaming up to push for public policy changes at the state level that will increase screening rates for colorectal cancer,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “We look forward to working collectively to ensure more and more Americans have access to covered colorectal cancer screening, free of any potential cost-sharing barriers, creating the opportunity to save more lives from colorectal cancer.”
“Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and the rising number of cases among those under the age of 45 is alarming,” said Carolyn Aldigé, Founder and CEO, Prevent Cancer Foundation. “Because regular screenings are critical to reducing the risk of developing or dying from the disease, these Catalyst grants will go a long way toward helping states implement policy to increase access to colorectal cancer screening in accordance with appropriate screening guidelines. This is one cancer that can be stopped before it starts.”
“Colorectal cancer is a pressing public health problem, despite it being one of the most preventable cancers. The Catalyst program taps into the best of all of us to get more people screened,” said Kevin Conroy, chairman and CEO of Exact Sciences. “We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Fight CRC to empower the grant recipients with the resources they need to remove barriers to screening.”
Representatives from the inaugural grant recipients will participate in a training session as part of Fight CRC’s annual Call-on Congress, March 15-16. Grantees will share their goals and challenges and begin developing an action plan to achieve policy change in their state.
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About Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC)
Fight CRC empowers and activates a community of patients, fighters and champions to push for better policies and to support research, education, and awareness for all those touched by colorectal cancer. Fight CRC advocates for policies that remove barriers to colorectal cancer screening, increase investment in colorectal cancer research, and protect the best interests of patients. For more information, visit fightcolorectalcancer.org.
About Exact Sciences Corp.
A leading provider of cancer screening and diagnostic tests, Exact Sciences relentlessly pursues smarter solutions providing the clarity to take life-changing action, earlier. Building on the success of Cologuard® and Oncotype DX®, Exact Sciences is investing in its product pipeline to take on some of the deadliest cancers and improve patient care. Exact Sciences unites visionary collaborators to help advance the fight against cancer. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.exactsciences.com, follow Exact Sciences on Twitter @ExactSciences, or find Exact Sciences on Facebook.
1 American Cancer Society. Key statistics for colorectal cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Last revised January 8, 2020. Accessed January 9, 2020.
2 White A, Thompson TD, White MC, et al. Cancer screening test use - United States, 2015. MMWR Morbid Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66:201-206.
3 Wolf A, Fontham E, Church TR, et al. Colorectal cancer screening for average-risk adults: 2018 guideline update from the American Cancer Society. CA Cancer J Clin. 2018; 68:250-281.
4 Wolf A, Fontham E, Church TR, et al. Colorectal cancer screening for average-risk adults: 2018 guideline update from the American Cancer Society. CA Cancer J Clin. 2018; 68:250-281.
5 Doubeni, C.A. et al., Modifiable Failures in the Colorectal Cancer Screening Process and Their Association with Risk of Death, Gastroenterology. 2019; 155: 63-74.e6.