November has been a busy month in policy! From congressional meetings to growing mustaches for a cause, here's what we've been up to:

One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) Lobby Day
On October 24, our policy expert Camille Bonta attended One Voice Against Cancer's lobby day, where she represented Fight Colorectal Cancer. She met with the offices of Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

The overarching messages of the lobby day were to stop sequestration and to increase NIH funding. Camille said that her meetings were productive and that she found Rep. Hanna's staff particularly receptive to the request, as well as Sen. Collins' staff, as she is a long-time supporter of medical research & prevention. Thank you, Camille!
"No-Shave" November
This month, men around the world are growing out their facial hair to raise awareness for different men's health issues, including colorectal cancer.  At least four different Fight Colorectal Cancer advocates have set down their razors this month to not only raise awareness, but to also raise funds for the fight against colorectal cancer!

Keep an eye out for pictures of these manly men on our Facebook page later this month. And Read the blog post for the full story! 

Advocate meeting with Rep. Hank Johnson

On November 4, advocates from Atlanta, GA met with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) to discuss Fight Colorectal Cancer's legislative priorities such as funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (located in Atlanta) and support for H.R. 1070.


Walter Hickman, Tonya Floyd and Gigi Lewis described their meeting with Rep. Johnson as a "win" in the fight against colorectal cancer.  In fact, Rep. Johnson was so influenced by the advocates' stories that during the meeting, he picked up the phone and called a friend who had been experiencing some gastrointestinal issues and encouraged him to be screened.


If you are interested in meeting with your representative or senator in his or her local office, email

Senator Harkin Asks Organizations to Rally Behind an End to Sequester

On Nov. 7, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, called a meeting of Labor-HHS-education stakeholders at which Fight Colorectal Cancer was represented.


Sen. Harkin thanked the organizations for all they have done to advocate for those who do not have voices, but asked groups to "dig down deep" and "work their hearts out" to do away with sequestration without further reductions to non-defense discretionary spending.


Sen. Harkin said the 29 House and Senate lawmakers who make up the Budget Conference Committee need to hear from their constituents about the effects of cuts caused by the first round of sequestration on things like medical research, public health and prevention, education and workforce training. 


The conference committee is tasked with reaching a deal on a spending plan by December 13, which will mean bridging a $90 billion difference between the House and Senate Budget Resolutions. The success or failure of the conference committee will dictate what happens when the current continuing resolution that is keeping the government funded at FY 2013 post-sequestration levels ends on January 15. 


If your member of Congress sits on the Budget Conference Committee, let him/her know that you are following the negotiations closely and support an end to sequestration without further cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the CDC, and other programs that support the cancer community.  Call, email, or use social media to reach his/her office.


Go here for information on eAdovcacy.

Blue Star States Update

There is movement within our Blue Star States campaign, the initiative we're pushing with the Colon Cancer Alliance to get all 50 states to recognize March 2014 as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month!


So far, we've had advocates from nearly 20 states request proclamations from their governors and THREE governors have already issued State Proclamations.


A huge thanks to Stephanie Bertels (TN), Joanne DiBartolo (IL), and Laura Forsyth (DE) for making their states Blue Star States!


For a full report on states that are in process of releasing proclamations and information on turning your state blue, go here.

Congressman Payne, Jr. Pursues National Colorectal Cancer Proclamation

At the request of Fight Colorectal Cancer, Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) is asking his House colleagues to join him in sending a letter to President Obama asking him to issue a proclamation designating March 2014 as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.


Rep. Payne's goal is to at least have the sign-on support of all 83 members of Congress who co-sponsored his colorectal cancer awareness resolution (H.Res. 69) last year.


Rep. Payne's effort has been endorsed by 13 other colorectal cancer stakeholder organizations.  Look for another announcement in November about how you can help Fight Colorectal Cancer get at least 100 lawmakers to sign the letter to President Obama.

The CDC Vital Signs report

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Vital Signs report earlier this month, which presented the latest findings on colorectal cancer screening rates in the United States by the type of screening test. Also highlighted in this report were approaches that can be taken to improve CRC screening rates, including increasing the number of all recommended CRC screening tests.


Key points in the Vital Signs report include:

  • Among adults who were screened as recommended, colonoscopy was by far the most common screening test (62 percent). Use of the other US Preventative Services Track Force's (USPSTF) recommended tests was much lower: fecal occult blood test (10 percent), and flexible sigmoidoscopy in combination with FOBT/FIT (less than 1 percent).  
  • Blacks and whites had similar screening rates, but a higher percentage of blacks across all income and education levels used FOBT. 

For the full report and educational resources, go here.

National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) Fall 2013 Policy Consortium

On Nov. 13, Program Coordinator Emily White attended NPAF's Fall 2013 Policy Consortium. The topic was "Price, Value, and Access: A Discussion of Solutions to the Rising Cost of Health Care."

The consortium consisted of two different panel discussions and three keynote speakers, including Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI). Topics of discussion included end-of-life care and cost transparency, both of which are touchy subjects in today's political environment.

While at the meeting, Emily had the opportunity to meet Fight Colorectal Cancer board member Alan Balch.  Alan serves as NPAF's CEO and will be a featured speaker at Call-on Congress 2014.

A Look at Other Policy Issues that Fight CRC is Standing Behind

Every month, Fight Colorectal Cancer is presented with opportunities to lend its voice on other important cancer-related policy issues. Since the last Advocacy Update, Colorectal Cancer signed a letter as part of the Cancer Leadership Council (CLC) supporting a proposed plan to reform the Medicare physician payment system. The letter gives support for reforms that will encourage quality of care improvements, including physician payment for complex chronic care management and incentives for physicians to participate in clinical practice improvement activities that have the potential to benefit care delivered to cancer patients.


Fight Colorectal Cancer also signed a letter generated by the Cancer Leadership Council (CLC) to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning its proposed standards for making de-identified data and masked data derived from medical product applications available to interested parties.


The letter states concern that the FDA privacy protection requirements for sharing pre-clinical or clinical data may not be enough to protect the privacy of individuals with pediatric or rare cancers who participate in clinical trials. The letter expresses concern about the sharing of data for research that is unrelated to the research for which the patient originally gave consent.  

Fight CRC Teams Up with PAN CAN to Protect PRCRP Funding

In its continuing efforts to maintain colorectal cancer as eligible for research funding through the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP), Fight Colorectal Cancer joined forces with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PAN CAN).  PAN CAN is also fighting for the eligibility of PRCRP funds for pancreatic cancer research.


To date, Fight Colorectal Cancer and PAN CAN have met with nine of the 19 members of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, which has authority over the PRCRP. Fight Colorectal Cancer's messages have been positively received during those meetings. Fight Colorectal Cancer and PAN CAN also led a sign-on letter effort to all members of the Senate Appropriations Committee asking for their support. Eighteen national and state organizations signed the letter - an impressive demonstration of support for this important research program.


If your senator sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee (find out here) and you would like to lend your voice to this advocacy issue, take a moment to send an email with the following messages:

  • Ensure that colorectal cancer is listed among the cancers eligible for research under the PRCRP in any final negotiated agreement on fiscal year (FY) 2014 defense spending;
  • Remind your senator that colorectal cancer research currently benefits from PRCRP funding, but that colorectal cancer was left out of the FY 2014 Senate defense spending bill report language; and
  • Say thank you for the funding increase ($25 billion total) for the PRCRP in the Senate bill.

Please refer to a letter sent to Appropriations Committee leadership for more information. You can obtain contact information for your senators' offices via their websites.

Sign Up for Call-on Congress

As you can see, we have a LOT happening right now, both locally and on the Hill, and we need your help to continue fighting!


Join our Blue Star States campaign, get real-time updates from our Advocates Facebook group and learn how to become an eAdvocate



March 2014 will be here before you know it! This year we are hosting Call-on Congress in Alexandria, VA on March 16-18, 2014.

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