President Clinton’s radio address to the Nation: New effort to fight Colorectal Cancer (10/7/00)
Saturday, October 7, 2000
             PRESIDENT CLINTON?S RADIO ADDRESS TO THE NATION:
     PRESIDENT CLINTON LAUNCHES NEW EFFORT TO FIGHT COLORECTAL CANCER

Today, in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will launch a new
effort to fight colorectal cancer, encourage all Americans over the age of
50 to receive their annual colorectal cancer screening, and celebrate
Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  He will be joined by cancer advocates from
across the country who have come to Washington this weekend to join Katie
Couric at a rally against colorectal cancer.  The President will announce
that the National Cancer Institute will invest $30 million over the next
five years to help doctors expand and improve screening procedures for
colorectal cancer and address the chronic under-use of these life-saving
tools.  He will also launch new efforts to educate all Medicare
beneficiaries about the importance of preventive care.  Finally, the
President will challenge Congress to remove major barriers facing Medicare
beneficiaries seeking preventive care by, passing legislation to expand
Medicare to include more sophisticated colorectal cancer screening tests
for people over 50 and enacting the Clinton-Gore A budget proposal to
eliminate all cost-sharing requirements for colorectal screening and other
preventive procedures under Medicare.  The President will also praise Vice
President Gore and the First Lady for their long-standing efforts to
improve cancer screening, research, treatment and coverage.

COLORECTAL CANCER KILLS THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS EACH YEAR.  Although death
rates from colorectal cancer are at their lowest point in decades and the
risk of developing this disease continues to decline, research demonstrates
that more needs to be done.

?    Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United
States.  An estimated 130,000 new cases and 56,000 deaths from colorectal
cancer are expected in 2000. Americans spend $5 billion a year on
treatments for colorectal cancer, which is the second most expensive cancer
to treat after prostate cancer.

?    Timely screening for colorectal cancer saves lives.  Early colorectal
cancer is a curable disease.  Because colorectal cancers grow slowly, early
detection significantly increases survival.  When detected early, the
five-year survival rate is 90 percent.  However, less than 40 percent of
colorectal cancers are discovered at that stage. After the cancer has
spread, the five-year survival rate drops to 65 percent.

?    Recent evidence indicates that aggressive screening of individuals at
risk for colon cancer increases the likelihood of early detection by more
than 50 percent.  There is excellent evidence that regular screening for
colorectal cancer saves lives.  People over the age of 50 should have a
simple stool blood test once a year, and should have a sigmoidoscopy or a
colonoscopy every 5 to 10 years.  Recent research, although not conclusive,
indicates that using colonoscopies to screen individuals over the age of 50
for colon cancer rather than flexible sigmoidoscopy may identify polyps
that would otherwise go undetected over half of asymptomatic patients.
However, Medicare does not currently reimburse physicians for colonoscopies
unless the patient has a family history of colon cancer or is otherwise at
risk.

?    Screening rates for colorectal cancer are dangerously low, and rates
decrease as individuals age.  Studies indicate that less than 40 percent of
adults over the age of 50 have ever had a sigmoidoscopy.  In addition, a
recent GAO report indicates that even though Medicare covers colorectal
screenings, the use of these tests remains dangerously low. For example,
fecal occult blood tests, the least invasive of the screening tests, are
supposed to be provided once a year to Americans over the age of 50 ? but
less than 10 percent of Medicare beneficiaries received this test in 1999.

?    Barriers to proper screening include a lack of patient and provider
awareness.   A 1997 study indicated that many primary care physicians do
not appropriately screen patients for colorectal cancer because of concerns
about the effectiveness of screening and misconceptions about patients?
willingness to be screened.  In addition, many patients are concerned that
the screening exam might be unpleasant and are embarrassed to discuss the
tests with their physicians.

STRONG NEW ACTION TO FIGHT COLORECTAL CANCER.  The President will join
cancer advocates from across the country in urging all Americans over 50 to
go for colorectal cancer screening and launch a new effort to improve
prevention, screening, and treatment of this disease.  The President will:

?    Announce new Federal investment of $30 million to help doctors expand
and improve screening procedures for colorectal cancer and address the
chronic under-use of these screenings.  The President will announce that
the National Cancer Institute will invest $30 million over the next five
years to determine best practices for treatment of colorectal cancer,
assess why health care providers are underutilizing screening procedures,
and develop new ways to encourage health care providers to use the most
effective screening tools available.  In addition, NCI, together with the
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, will initiate an expedited
review of the advisability of using of colonoscopy as an early screening
device.

?    Announce new efforts to educate Medicare beneficiaries about the
importance of preventive care.  Beginning next March, Medicare
beneficiaries will receive reminders about the importance of colorectal
cancer screenings and other preventive services, in addition to the
information on mammography and influenza they already receive, on the
Statement of Benefits sent to them every time they use a Medicare service.
In addition, Medicare's toll-free hotline will automatically remind seniors
about the importance of preventive care when they call for information on
their benefits. 1-800-MEDICARE gets over 200,000 calls each month.

?    Challenge the Congress to eliminate barriers to Medicare beneficiaries
seeking preventive services.  The President will endorse bipartisan
legislation to provide Medicare reimbursement for colonoscopies provided
once every 10 years to beneficiaries over 50. This legislation, estimated
to cost $200 million over 10 years by CBO, ensures that Medicare coverage
policies are in-line with the latest medical research.  Although this
proposal does not mandate a particular screening schedule, it ensures that
physicians have the option to provide these enhanced screening services.
The President will also challenge the Congress to take the next step and
eliminate all Medicare cost-sharing for colorectal screening and other
preventive procedures.

CHALLENGE THE CONGRESS TO PASS A STRONG, ENFORCEABLE PATIENTS? BILL OF
RIGHTS AND TAKE A STAND AGAINST GENETIC DISCRIMINATION. The President will
urge the Congress not adjourn before passing a strong, enforceable
Patients? Bill of Rights that assures that cancer patients - and all
patients - have access to the specialty care they need.  He will also
challenge them to finish the job begun by the bipartisan Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act and pass legislation ensuring that
genetic information used to help predict, prevent, and treat disease will
not be used to discriminate against Americans seeking employment or health
insurance.  Studies demonstrate that the fear of discrimination is so
pervasive that almost one-third of individuals offered the opportunity to
participate in a clinical trial to identify the gene linked with breast
cancer declined, citing concerns about discrimination and loss of privacy.

STATE HIS INTENTION TO SIGN INTO A LAW NEW TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR UNINSURED
WOMEN WITH BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER.  The President will praise the
Senate?s recent unanimous passage of the Breast and Cervical Treatment Act
of 1999 ? legislation providing States with an important new Medicaid
coverage option for low-income, uninsured women with breast and cervical
cancer.  This action virtually assures that the Congress will present the
President with legislation that he was pleased to include in this year?s
budget and that he will be proud to sign into law, and he will urge the
Congress to pass the final bill without further delay.

BUILDS ON THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION?S LONGSTANDING COMMITMENT TO
FIGHTING BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER.  The Clinton-Gore Administration has
responded to the significant threat posed by cancer with increased efforts
in research, prevention and treatment.  During the Clinton-Gore
Administration, funding for breast and cervical cancer research, prevention
and treatment increased from approximately $283 million in FY 1993 to $623
million in FY 2000. President Clinton enacted the Mammography Quality
Standards Act to ensure the quality of mammograms. This year, the President
announced that Medicare would begin to cover the routine care costs
associated with participation in clinical trials, removing a major barrier
to study participation. Fighting the spread of this disease has also been a
high priority for both Vice President Gore and First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Al Gore successfully fought for historic increases in funding for cancer
research, prevention and treatment at the National Cancer Institutes during
the Clinton-Gore Administration.  Hillary Clinton launched the Medicare
Mammography Campaign to urge older women to get mammograms and to promote
the use of Medicare coverage for mammography and helped develop and
implement the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer, a public-private
partnership coordinated at the Department of Health and Human Services.

                                   # # #


President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement

Help

Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E