Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC), the nation's leading colorectal cancer advocacy organization, has awarded four states with grant funding to increase access to life-saving colorectal cancer screening: Kentucky, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Texas. The grants are part of Fight CRC’s Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program, which supports state-level policy change through coalition building and grassroots advocacy.
“Fight CRC’s Catalyst Program is thrilled to add four new states that represent diverse patient populations, parts of the country, and political climates all while having the same unwavering commitment to increasing access to colorectal cancer screening,” said Molly McDonnell, Fight CRC’s Director of Advocacy.
Fight CRC provides funding and technical assistance that will lead to state-level legislative and policy changes to advance colorectal cancer screening. This year’s grants include:
- $25,000 to the Colon Cancer Prevention Project of Kentucky
- $40,000 to the Nebraska Cancer Coalition
- $25,000 to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Rhode Island
- $25,000 to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Texas
This will be the second year Fight Colorectal Cancer has awarded state-level grants through the Catalyst Program. Last year, the inaugural class of grantees included Arkansas, California, Colorado, and Louisiana.
In less than one year, Fight CRC has already made huge strides in state-level policy change including introduction of legislation in three states and passing a bill through the Colorado House of Representatives that would remove barriers to screening.
“ACS CAN is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Fight CRC and Exact Sciences to advocate for public policy change at the state level that will help to increase screening rates for colorectal cancer through the Catalyst Grant Program. We understand the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented for individuals needing screenings and we must work to ensure we remove all barriers, including cost-sharing barriers, and save more lives from colorectal cancer.” - Lance Barbour, Senior State and Local Campaigns Manager, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Unlike many other cancers, colorectal cancer is preventable if caught early enough.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, roughly 58 percent of all colorectal cancer deaths in 2020 will be due to “non-screening.”
COVID-19 has led to an even further drop off in colorectal cancer screening and it is important now more than ever for patients to have access to the full array of colorectal cancer screening tests, including non-invasive screening options. The Catalyst Program is working to ensure that if patients receive a positive result from a non-invasive screening test, they are able to complete the screening process with a colonoscopy without facing out-of-pocket costs.
To address these challenges, Fight CRC’s Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program pursues:
- Advancing policy and raising awareness to ensure coverage for colorectal cancer screening for people ages 45-49, as is now recommended through American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines and draft United States Preventive Services Task Force guidelines.
- Advancing policy to remove patient cost-sharing for insured populations undergoing follow-up colonoscopies as the result of a positive screening exam.
- Engaging and empowering advocates to share their stories and get involved in state advocacy efforts.
- Creating a network of states dedicated to policy change, sharing experiences and developing best practices.
In addition to Fight CRC’s policy team, the Catalyst Program is being led by an advisory council made up of leaders in the cancer community who serve as an outside review panel to evaluate grant applications and provide input on funding decisions:
- Lisa Richardson MD, MPH, Director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
- Nikki Hayes, MPH, Branch Chief, CDC Comprehensive Cancer Control Branch
- Caroline Powers, Director, Federal Relations, ACS CAN
- Lance Barbour, State and Local Campaigns Manager, ACS CAN
- Jody Hoyos, Executive Vice President, Prevent Cancer Foundation
Funding for the program has been made possible by Exact Sciences, a molecular diagnostics company with an initial focus on the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer.
“Fight CRC is thrilled to welcome Kentucky, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Texas to Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program and begin working at the state level to implement policy that will increase access to colorectal cancer screening,” said Anjee Davis, President of Fight CRC. “We are grateful for Exact Sciences’ commitment to supporting advocacy efforts to ensure people have timely access to screening, regardless of the test they choose. It will allow us to empower a community of advocates across the country to impact meaningful policy change and ultimately bring us one step closer to a world without colorectal cancer.”
To learn more about the Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program, visit FightCRC.org/Catalyst.