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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 17, 2021 12:24 PM
From: Representative Napoleon J. Nelson
To: All House members
Subject: Increasing Access to Cancer Screenings
Undergoing regular screening tests is the most reliable way to detect cancer early, when the cancer is small and has not spread. Getting screening tests regularly may find breast, cervical, and colorectal (colon) cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best. Lung cancer screening is recommended for some people who are at high risk.

Every year in the United States, over 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among American women and one of the deadliest, taking the lives of over 42,000 women each year.

The American Cancer Society estimate that about 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women in the United States will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. It is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and in women. However, due to advances in screening techniques and improvements in treatments, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been falling.

Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, making up almost 25% of all cancer deaths. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

While early detection can positively impact the outcomes of these cancers, death occurs disproportionately among individuals of color due to lower rates of insurance coverage, which may prevent individuals from having access to vital screening services.

For this reason, I will be introducing legislation to expand the age eligibility for low-income uninsured and underinsured individuals to access cancer screenings. By expanding the age eligibility for qualified individuals, we can ensure access to these crucial services and provide a better chance of beating cancer for many more at-risk individuals.

Please join me in taking this important step towards improving the health and lives of vulnerable Pennsylvanians.

Document #1

Description: This bill would change the age eligibility requirements for breast and cervical cancer screenings under the Department of Health’s (DOH) Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. This bill was previously introduced as HB 419 and unanimously passed out of the House (199-0) in 2019.

Document #2

Description: This bill would establish the Pennsylvania Colorectal and Lung Cancer Early Screening Program within DOH to make colorectal and lung cancer screening more accessible. In accordance with the recommendations from the American Cancer Society, Colorectal Cancer screenings would be available to eligible individuals starting at age 45 and Lung Cancer screenings would be available to eligible individuals starting at age 55.