Our nation’s veterans have served their country honorably and in return, we need to treat them with the care and respect that they have earned. That is why we at the Reveille Foundation have worked tirelessly to support the veteran community, especially those in underserved communities. We work with community partners to assist individuals with their housing, health, transportation, employment, and educational needs. It is in that calling that we urge our leaders in Congress to support the Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act.
As the veteran population rises, so too will the number of those diagnosed with cancer. These heroes since WWII have possibly been exposed to several cancer risk factors, including chemical weapons, herbicides, asbestos, unsafe drinking water, and toxic fumes. The fact is if you served our country, you are more likely to develop cancer, and that is why we need our leaders to take the necessary steps to combat this disease, and increase survivability in our veteran population.
We have all seen or read about the dramatic advancements being developed in cancer treatments. But that progress applies even more so to the field of preventing cancer through early detection. There are new technologies that are actually able to identify dozens of cancers through just a single blood test.
These tests can even detect cancer in individuals with no symptoms or hint that cancer is growing within them. These are not just common cancers either. They are cancers that have never been able to be screened before, like liver and pancreatic cancer.
In order for these incredible advances to reach their full potential, they need to be accessible by the most vulnerable populations. That is what the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act seeks to do. It will allow for Medicare to cover these incredible new technologies once they receive approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Without this legislation, it could take many years for seniors to have access to these live-saving technologies.
The VA urges veterans to enroll in Medicare when they are eligible in order to broaden their coverage and options. Having these screenings covered under Medicare not only helps the broad Medicare population, but also those veterans that we serve.
Senator Mark Kelly and Representatives Tom O’Halleran, David Schweikert, and Ruben Gallego are proud co-sponsors of the Medicare Multi-Cancer Screening Coverage Act, and we hope that the rest of the Arizona delegation will soon follow. Arizona’s veterans are counting on it.
Steve Yamamori is president/CEO of Phoenix-based Reveille Foundation, which helps underserved veterans with their employment, health care, transportation, and housing needs.