Colorectal cancer is the leading causes of cancer deaths among Americans, with an estimated 147,000 new cases expected in 2020. The American Cancer Society estimates 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and the Indiana House is leading the way with legislation to help Hoosiers catch the disease earlier.

House Bill 1080, authored by State Rep. Brad Barrett (R-Richmond), would make certain insurance providers cover colorectal cancer screenings starting at the age of 45. Currently, the law requires coverage if a patient is at least 50 years old.

Treatment measures have come a long way for colorectal or colon cancer. According to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the average survival rate for stage 4 colon cancer is around 30 months. This is up from the 6 to 8 months that was the average 20 years ago.

Barrett, a retired general surgeon, encourages patients to get screenings early to catch critical medical issues like cancer sooner rather than later. The Indiana House unanimously supported the bill, which if it becomes law, will greatly improve outcomes for those diagnosed and potentially save lives.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance encourages Hoosiers to dress in blue on Friday, March 6 to raise awareness about the disease and to support people impacted. Click here to learn more about free screenings in Indiana and how to qualify.