January 29, 2016

States Consider Expanded Cancer Screening Options

More Americans could gain access to potentially life-saving screenings using diagnostic imaging for colorectal, breast and other types of cancer with help from legislative initiatives under consideration in many states.

CT colonography
, also referred to as virtual colonoscopy, could get a boost as state legislators look for ways to increase chronically low national compliance with recommendations from the American Cancer Society (ACS) for periodic colon cancer screenings for men and women beginning at age 50.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the U.S. and third leading source of cancer incidence.

Many experts estimate that the number of colon cancer deaths each year could drop as much as 50% if all targeted older adults complied with ACS screening guidelines. The ACS recommends CT colonography along with other colorectal cancer screening methods.

Recognizing this fact, many states have filed legislation on colorectal cancer screening and prevention. They include Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Michigan.
Legislation relating to insurance coverage for breast cancer screening has been proposed in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Lawmakers in Tennessee and Virginia will consider separate sets of legislation that would prohibit health insurance policies and plans from holding proton radiation therapy to a higher standard of clinical evidence for benefit coverage decisions than for other types of radiation treatments for a wide range of cancers.