Kentucky lawmakers looking at ways to prevent colon cancer with 2 bills

The American Cancer Society’s newly updated guidelines for colon and rectal cancer screening recommend that adults at average risk get screened starting at age 45 instead of 50, as previously advised.

PADUCAH — Colon cancer can be deadly if it isn’t diagnosed in time. You may have had a family member die from it.

Kentucky has the highest rate of colorectal cancer in the country. A quarter of the people diagnosed with it have a family history of it.

Kentucky lawmakers are looking into ways to help prevent colon cancer. Two bills have been introduced in the state senate.

Senate Bill 66 would help create a colon cancer prevention license plate. The money from sales of the plate would help fund the state’s screening program. It would also give you the option to donate to the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program when you file your taxes.

Dr. Whitney Jones

Senate Bill 30 would require health insurance plans to cover genetic tests for cancer that are recommended by certain health care providers. Dr. Whitney Jones helped put the bill together. He says it could save lives.

“If I know a person has a genetic predisposition, that will change what type of screening test they receive, how often they get screened, and how early they should start,” Jones says.

Both bills were introduced in the Kentucky Senate in January.

The American Cancer Society recommends getting screened for colon cancer if you are age 45 or older. Jones says screening rates in the purchase area of Kentucky are the highest in the state.