The scars left by cancer run deep. I still remember the day I learned that my father had been diagnosed with lung cancer. It’s a pain that never truly goes away, especially when he eventually lost his battle. This personal tragedy has ignited a spark in me, pushing me to champion the fight against this relentless disease.
Today, there is no silver bullet cancer cure to rid us of the disease once and for all. But we can play strong defense through prevention and early detection. Screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies are familiar to many Americans. They’ve undeniably saved millions of lives.
However, a harrowing reality confronts us: the majority of the over 600,000 Americans projected to die from cancer this year will diefrom types for which no early detection tests currently exist. Despite the emergence of exciting new treatments, without advancements in early detection, mortality rates will remain stubbornly high.
Yet, there’s a beacon of hope. Cutting-edge research is bringing forth technologies that can easily detect many different types of cancer. This innovation, requiring only a simple blood draw, can screen for multiple types of cancer concurrently. Especially for those in rural areas, where specialized care is often miles away, this is groundbreaking.
The next hurdle is accessibility. Every American, especially our seniors, deserves access to these life-altering tests. Recognizing this, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and U.S. Rep. Troy Carter have reached across the aisle and co-sponsored the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act.
This legislation would ensure that Medicare’s process for covering new tests evolves in tandem with medical advancements, making vital early detection tools accessible to those most vulnerable.
Every year, countless Louisianians are diagnosed with cancer. In memory of my father and the countless others impacted by cancer, it is our moral duty to ensure every individual stands a fighting chance.
I hope you stand with me.
Former wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints and founder of the Mauti Cancer Fund
CAGLA Board of Trustees