For Immediate Release: March 5, 2007
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