Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Illinois legislation to create colorectal screening and threat

eNews Park Forest, "Riley, Demuzio Team Up to Create Cancer Screening

June 22, 2009


Springfield, IL-(ENEWSPF)- State Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields) and
state Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) passed legislation out of both
chambers of the General Assembly this session to create the Colorectal
Cancer Screening and Treatment Pilot Program in parts of the state with
the highest number of deaths due to colon cancer.

"People without insurance coverage need to be tested for this too-often
fatal cancer before it is too late," Riley said. "Illinois residents are
dying everyday because of a lack of awareness of colon cancer and
because they are unable to afford potentially life-saving screening and

Under Senate Bill 270, the Department of Public Health will provide
grants for the colorectal cancer screening and tests in areas that have
high rates of fatal colorectal cancer. The screening and treatment will
be provided to people without health insurance who are 50 years of age
or have a high risk of colon cancer. Testing will also be available to
those who have exhausted their current health insurance benefits. The
program will spread public information about the importance of screening
and reach out to people eligible for the program in participating

"Colorectal cancer often has no symptoms, which is why regular screening
is so important," said Demuzio. "I lost my husband to this disease and I
want to do everything I can to help prevent others from dying of colon

The bill had support from the American Cancer Society.

According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the 3rd
most commonly diagnosed cancer among Illinois residents and causes over
3,000 deaths a year. Screening is essential to catch the cancer in its
early stages and reduces mortality by detecting a higher proportion of
cancers when they are more treatable.

"Screening and early detection will lead to successful treatment for
colon cancer," said Dr. K. Thomas Robbins, Director of the SIU Cancer
Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. "Senate
Bill 270 is a worthy program that will save lives and cost to the health
care system."

"I am passionate about seeing this bill become law because I have no
doubt it will save lives," said Sheila Strong, American Cancer Society
advocacy volunteer. "I have lost dear friends and loved ones to this
disease. How many more people have to die because they can't afford
life-saving screening? Like the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer
program that has saved the lives of so many, I truly hope to see this
measure have that same success."

Senate Bill 270 was sent to the governor's desk for his signature on
June 12.

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