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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: March 5, 2007

Senator Debbe Leftwich
Senator Debbe Leftwich

Senate Approves Colorectal Cancer Screening Bill

The full Senate has given approval to a measure aimed at saving the lives of thousands of Oklahomans. Sen. Debbe Leftwich is the author of SB 14, which would require insurance companies to cover colorectal cancer screening.

“This is the second leading cancer killer in the nation,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “It’s estimated that 1,880 Oklahomans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and of those, 720 will die. Early detection would save most of them.”

Leftwich, Co-chair of the Legislative Cancer Caucus, said that with early diagnoses, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent, but after colorectal cancer spreads to other organs, that rate falls to just 10 percent.
Leftwich said that some insurance companies in Oklahoma do offer screening for colorectal cancer, but others do not. SB 14 would require all insurance companies to cover screening. She said the cost of this would be about 55 cents per customer per month, as opposed to the cost of treating colorectal cancer in the later stages, at a cost of about $8,000 per customer per month.

“The American Cancer Society tells us that with regular colorectal cancer screening, we could reduce deaths from that disease by as much as 80 percent,” Leftwich said. “Early detection saves money in the long run, but more importantly, it will save lives.”

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives.

For more information contact:
Senator Leftwich's Office - (405) 521-5557

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