Washington—The effort to draw attention to the importance of prostate cancer detection was given a big boost in September when conservative Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AR) and liberal Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) joined together to sponsor legislation to create the National Prostate Cancer Council.
According to a statement by the two lawmakers, the council’s mission would be to develop and carry out a national strategy to improve screening, assessment, early detection, and monitoring of prostate cancer.
“Testing and early detection are the keys to combat this disease. When identified early, the survival rate for prostate cancer is very high. We need to ensure that we have the most advanced screening tools available, and this legislation is a step in the right direction,” said Sessions, a prostate cancer survivor.
“Prostate cancer is one of the leading threats to the health and lives of the men of this country,” Boxer said. “We owe it to our families to do all we can to fight this deadly disease.”
Would coordinate research efforts
The council, should it be created by Congress, would be charged with developing a national plan for accelerated creation of diagnostic tools; providing information and coordination of prostate cancer research and services among the federal agencies; reviewing the current diagnostic tools and their effectiveness; evaluating all prostate cancer programs, including federal budget requests; reporting to both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Congress; and ensuring that high-risk men be included in any strategy.
Boxer is no newcomer to the effort to improve prostate cancer detection. In 2012, she and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sponsored the Prostate Cancer Detection Research and Education Act, intended to improve research and detection of prostate cancer.
That measure would have increased federal funding for prostate cancer research. It called for a panel of leading medical experts to be created to work toward the ultimate goal of developing an accurate test that can detect prostate cancer and diagnose its severity.
The AUA said it supports the new Sessions-Boxer bill, S. 2813.
“Although this measure was just introduced, the goals for the council outlined in S. 2813—such as improving prostate cancer screening and early detection—very much align with the AUA’s advocacy priorities,” said David F. Penson, MD, MPH, the AUA’s Public Policy Council chair. He said the AUA “would be encouraged” to see the bill “gain bipartisan traction during the remainder of the 113th Congress.”
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