As representatives of the citizens of New York State, we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone has access to the highest quality health care possible. As a State Senator. I have worked aggressively to fight for increased funding for cancer education and prevention, and to improve and expand health care coverage and treatment, including legislation we are working hard to approve — the Women’s Health and Wellness Act — which would expand treatment and prevention services and insurance coverage for breast cancer and other illnesses facing women in particular.
Colon cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer deaths, followed only by lung cancer. This year, 130,200 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer. Nearly half, 56,300, will die from it. Focusing on expanding treatment and coverage for colon cancer is of critical importance in our continued efforts to provide greater access to preventative health care for all citizens.
Because early detection is the key in fighting colon cancer and many other illnesses, it is critically important that we continue to educate people on how they can help to prevent colon cancer – by getting a colon cancer screenings like colonoscopies. Many people are apprehensive about the test itself, which is why we must continue to advocate for quality education and prevention services. One tremendous resource we have here in our region, right here in Rochester, is the University of Rochester’s Institute of Biomedical Sciences where scientists work diligently everyday to help find more effective ways to fight cancer.
As the senior member of the Rochester State Legislative Delegation, I worked with my colleagues and Governor Pataki to secure $7 million in State assistance for the Institute and will continue to fight to support these important and life-saving endeavors. Certainly I support providing our health care consumers with greater access to prevention services and more expansive insurance coverage for colon cancer treatments and would encourage everyone interested in this issue to contact their State representatives to share their views and concerns.