HomeBreaking NewsArciero's Bill Advocates for Broader Cancer Screenings

Arciero’s Bill Advocates for Broader Cancer Screenings

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CANCER SURVIVOR 

Chelmsford’s Alexa Morell and Representative Arciero publicly testify for health insurance  coverage for colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 30 

CHELMSFORD — Alexa Morell’s life changed drastically on Thursday, September 12, 2019. She  saw her son walk for the first time. She was 13 months postpartum.  

Later that day, she learned she had stage IV colon cancer that had already spread to her liver.  

State Representative James Arciero recently testified alongside Morell, a Chelmsford resident  who went on to survive her intense battle with colon cancer at the age of 29 and now  advocates for thorough colon screening for younger adults, at a public hearing before the Joint  Committee on Financial Services.  

House Bill 4145, An Act Relative to Colon Cancer Screening was filed by Representative Arciero  on behalf of Morell. It would provide public and private insurance coverage for colorectal  cancer screenings beginning at age 30, as determined and directed by a primary care physician.  Eleven other legislators have signed onto the bill including local legislators Vanna Howard,  Colleen Garry, Tami Gouveia and Senator Ed Kennedy.

“It’s my mission to make colon cancer screening routine for my generation just like breast  exams and cervical cancer screenings,” Morell said at the Joint Committee on Financial Services’  public hearing on November 9.  

Prior to the stage IV cancer diagnosis in September of 2019, Morell had two weeks of bloody  stool, which prompted her to visit to a gastroenterologist and eventually receive a colonoscopy.  She had no medical issues prior to the diagnosis.  

Alex Morell in a recent family photo. Morell helped advocate for Rep. Arciero’s newly filed bill to expand cancer screenings in younger people.

“I am incredibly passionate about advocating and sharing my story in hopes it saves just one  life. I work hard to encourage people to listen to their bodies as soon as something feels off,”  Morell said.  

She would eventually undergo 12 rounds of chemotherapy, two liver resections, a colon  resection, two video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery lung surgeries, as well as radiation on her  right lung following her diagnosis. She is currently in remission. 

“I just know that dropping the colonoscopy age from 45 to 30 will save so many, and I am just  so honored to be a part of this,” she added.  

The legislation would also eliminate co-payment, deductibility, co-insurance or a cost-sharing  requirements for those who need a screening for colorectal cancer. 

“I am so honored to testify alongside Alexa and the Morrell family on this health care issue,”  Representative Arciero said. “I have known Alexa’s husband, Ryan, for many years for his work  at the Massachusetts State House. Alexa’s story is incredible and for her to now advocate for  the well-being of others is very brave and commendable.” 

Currently, health care coverage only applies to screenings for those patients at the age of 50 tor  for individuals with a detailed family history of colorectal cancer.  

The cases of young-onset colorectal cancer have increased by 51 percent since 1994, according  to the National Cancer Institute. People born in 1990 have a 50% increased chance of  developing colorectal cancer than someone born in the 1950s, according to the American  Cancer Society.  

“I believe this bill will not only be cost effect in the long run for early detection of colorectal  cancers, and prompt treatment, but will most importantly save the lives of people across the  Commonwealth regardless of socio-economic circumstances or incomes,”  Arciero said.