Jan 152015

Cancer of all types is the second leading cause of death in our society, accounting for more than 570,000 deaths each year. More than 230,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and this disease annually takes the lives of more than 40,000 Americans. Nearly 80% of all women who acquire breast cancer are over 50 years of age. It is thought that obesity contributes to as much as half of all cancer deaths among older women. Additional risk factors for breast cancer include genetic history and not birthing a child. Research shows having more children and nursing are important factors in reducing the chance of developing breast cancer, even more important than genetic factors. Studies indicate that the use of combination hormone replacement therapy appears to account for the increasing incidence of invasive lobular breast cancer. Early diagnosis and treatment has greatly improved breast cancer survivability and the number of deaths from this disease here and in Europe has fallen by nearly 30% since 1990. Nearly 70% of all American women over 40 have had a mammogram in the last two years. It was thought such screening could reduce breast cancer’s mortality rate if employed by all high-risk women. However recent studies have found the death rates from breast cancer were no different in women who got mammograms and those who did not. This may be due to increased awareness of this disease by women, better treatments and medications such as tamoxifen, and that it may now be less important to detect breast cancer early.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1531 – Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2013

H.R.1830 – Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013
Cure by 2020

S.931 & H.R.1984 – Breast Cancer Patient Education Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current breast cancer policy and wish to defeat H.R.531, H.R.1830 and S.931 & H.R.1984

I support requiring a group or individual health plan that provides medical and surgical benefits to ensure that inpatient (and in the case of a lumpectomy, outpatient) coverage and radiation therapy are provided for breast cancer treatment. Prohibits such a plan from restricting benefits for any hospital length of stay to less than 48 hours in connection with a mastectomy or breast conserving surgery or 24 hours in connection with a lymph node dissection, insofar as the attending physician, in consultation with the patient, determines such stay to be medically necessary; or requiring that a provider obtain authorization from the plan for prescribing any such length of stay, and wish to pass H.R.531

I support identifying opportunities and ideas within government and the private sector that are key components in achieving the end of breast cancer and which have been overlooked, yet are ripe for collaboration and investment; recommend projects to leverage such opportunities and ideas in the areas of the primary prevention of breast cancer and the causes and prevention of breast cancer metastasis; and ensure that its activities are coordinated with, and do not duplicate the efforts of, programs and laboratories of other government agencies, and wish to pass H.R.1830

I support providing for the planning and implementation of an education campaign to inform breast cancer patients anticipating surgery regarding the availability and coverage of breast reconstruction, prostheses, and other options, with a focus on informing patients who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups. Requiring such campaign to include dissemination of the following information: breast reconstruction is possible at the time of breast cancer surgery or at a later time; prostheses or breast forms may be available; federal law mandates that both public and private health plans include coverage of breast reconstruction and prostheses; the patient has a right to choose the provider of reconstructive care, including the potential transfer of care to a surgeon that provides breast reconstructive care, and wish to pass S.931 & H.R.1984

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015

Colorectal cancer is a cancer resulting from uncontrolled cell growth in the colon or rectum. Each year, about 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with some form of cancer. Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in American men and women. It is estimated that about 5% of our population will acquire colorectal cancer at some point in their lives, and more than 140,000 new cases of colon cancer will be diagnosed this year. More than 50,000 people also die from this disease each year, making colorectal cancer the second deadliest form of cancer after lung cancer. Colon cancer usually strikes men and women who are over 50 years old but most people are in their early 70’s when diagnosed. However, recent studies now show the incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing in young adults and falling among those who are older. By 2030, if this trend continues, the incidence of colorectal cancer will double among people between 20 and 34 years old, and will grow by 28% to 46% for people ages 35 to 49. Diets that are high in fats and low in fiber are believed to increase the risk of acquiring colon cancer. Eating red and processed meats are not recommended. Exercise and diets high in vegetables are believed to reduce the risk of this disease. Fortunately, due to early detection and improved treatments, the colorectal cancer death rates for both men and women have been falling for the past 20 years. As a result, there are now more than a million American survivors of this disease.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.991 – CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act of 2013

H.R.1070 – Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current colorectal cancer policy and wish to defeat H.R.991 and H.R.1070

I support providing Medicare coverage for screening computed tomography colonography as a colorectal cancer screening test, and excluding screening CTC from the meaning of “imaging services” for which there is a special rule regarding outpatient services department fee schedule payments; directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit a preliminary report to Congress on the status of coverage of CTC as a CRC screening test under Medicare, including the extent to which such coverage as required by this Act has been implemented, and wish to pass H.R.991

I support mending title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to waive coinsurance for colorectal cancer screening tests (thus covering 100% of their cost under Medicare part B [Supplementary Medical Insurance Benefits for the Aged and Disabled]), and wish to pass H.R.1070

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015

Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in the tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread to other parts of the body. Smoking tobacco is the most common cause of this disease, responsible for more than 80% of all lung cancer cases. Lung cancer accounts for 14% of all new cancers and is the second-most common cancer in men and women, behind prostate and breast cancers. Lung cancer is, by far, the leading cause of cancer death in America, outpacing breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Nearly 230,000 new lung cancer cases are diagnosed each year and nearly 160,000 deaths annually result from this disease. About two-thirds of those diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older, with the average age at the time of diagnosis being about 70. It has been discovered that lung cancer can lie dormant for more than 20 years before turning deadly, helping explain why this disease is so persistent and difficult to treat. Recent studies show that after an initial disease-causing genetic fault, often due to smoking, tumor cells quietly develop numerous new mutations, making different parts of the same tumor genetically unique. The survival rates of people with lung cancer vary depending on the extent, or stage, of the cancer when it is diagnosed. There are now more than 380,000 American survivors of lung cancer, some of whom have used oral anti-cancer drugs which are now available. Oral cancer medications are convenient, less expensive to administer and effective if taken properly. However, our 2011 sequester cuts have impacted the availability of cancer medications to some patients. It is difficult for many cancer doctors, especially community oncologists who operate in nonhospital settings, to keep up with the costs associated with treating Medicare cancer patients who are typically elderly and on fixed incomes.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1801 – Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act of 2013

H.R.1416 – Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current lung cancer policy and wish to defeat H.R.1801 and H.R.1416

I support mandating health insurance coverage for oral anti-cancer medications by requiring a group or individual health plan providing benefits with respect to anticancer medications administered by a health care provider to provide no less favorable coverage for prescribed, patient-administered anticancer medications used to kill, slow, or prevent the growth of cancerous cells and that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Applies such requirement to medication that is prescribed based on a finding by the treating physician that the medication is medically necessary for the purpose of killing, slowing, or preventing the growth of cancerous cells in accordance with nationally accepted standards of medical practice; and clinically appropriate in terms of type, frequency, extent site, and duration, and wish to pass H.R.1801

I support repealing the sequestration as it pertains to the payment for cancer medications by declaring that, notwithstanding the presidential sequestration order issued on March 1, 2013, the budgetary resources sequestered for payments for drugs and biologicals under title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act shall be available for obligation for drugs and biologicals furnished on or after enactment of this Act in the same amount and manner as if such order had not been issued; directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make any payments under Medicare part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance) that may be required to reimburse for reductions in payments made under the sequestration order for drugs and biologicals furnished on or after April 1, 2013, and before enactment of this Act, and wish to pass H.R.1416

 Posted by at 12:00 am