In the News

FiOS: New legislation aims to prevent colorectal cancer

Bills seeks to encourage proactive screening by allowing it to be covered for Medicare patients

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Long Island, NY, March 14, 2016 | Coleman Lamb ((202) 225-5516) | comments

By Kevin Vesey

March is colorectal cancer awareness month and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice is getting the word out with new legislation aimed at helping more people get checked for the potentially deadly disease.

According to Rice, colon screenings are not covered by Medicare so millions of lower income Americans bypass the crucial procedure because of its high cost.

The congresswoman hopes a bill that she's sponsoring will change that.

“It will encourage proactive screening by allowing that to be covered for Medicare patients. Because that's a reason people don't go, because the copay is too much and from a financial standpoint people put it off,” Rice said.

For Merrick resident Mary-Kate Fitzpatrick, it was a routine colon screening that led to a life-changing discovery

“After I had my colonoscopy I found out I needed surgery. From there we went on to lovely chemo and I'm a lovely survivor of stage three colon cancer,” Fitzpatrick says.

The procedure ultimately saved her life. One year later and the 39-year-old is 100 percent cancer free.

As for Mary-Kate - the mother of three has this advice for anyone who's concerned about the potential discomfort the procedure might bring

Doctors at the Long Island Center for Digestive Health and Winthrop University Hospital say anyone 50 or over should have regular colonoscopies – for African Americans, the procedure should be done at age 45.

And if you have family history of colon cancer, it might have to be checked even earlier.
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