This past September, I asked U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici to co-sponsor Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer. Thank you, Rep. Bonamici, for co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation. Oregon seniors on Medicare are now one step closer to being able to access lifesaving colorectal cancer screening.

Colorectal cancer will kill approximately 660 Oregonians this year. It is the second leading cause of cancer death and the third most common type of cancer. It is also the most preventable cancer. Half of the deaths could be prevented if everyone over the age of 50 received the recommended screening, but cost is the biggest barrier. Co-pays have been mostly eliminated by private insurance, but not with Medicare.

As a 21-year breast cancer survivor, I know the importance of screenings and early detection. Lives are saved. I have already scheduled my colonoscopy.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network has a goal to increase colorectal cancer screenings to 80 percent nationwide by 2018. As a volunteer for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, I thank Rep. Bonamici for her leadership in this issue. I hope that U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden will follow, and sign on to this lifesaving legislation.

Lois Fitzpatrick

Seaside