The AUA recently voiced its support for the Prostate Research, Outreach, Screening, Testing, Access and Treatment Effectiveness (PROSTATE) Act of 2011, H.R. 2159, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Paul Broun, MD (R-GA).
Companion legislation, S. 1190, was introduced in the Senate by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Roy Blunt (R-MO).
The AUA worked closely with lawmakers to assist in the development of the legislation, which was previously introduced in 2010. The PROSTATE Act can help foster a more integrated and coordinated focus on effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease, according to an AUA statement. Specifically, the budget-neutral bill would:
- establish an Interagency Prostate Cancer Coordination and Education Task Force composed of agencies from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and led by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which will identify and catalog prostate cancer activities across these agencies; develop a strategy to improve the research portfolio; eliminate duplication between agencies; identify best practices; expand collaboration; increase patient and medical community participation; and develop a coordinated message related to awareness of and treatment for prostate cancer
- encourage the VA, DoD, and HHS to coordinate and intensify prostate cancer research, including improvements or alternatives to the PSA test and additional tests to distinguish indolent from aggressive disease; advance the understanding of the etiology of the disease; establish clinical registries for prostate cancer; and assess appropriate imaging modalities
- establish a grant program to build upon existing knowledge gained from comparative effectiveness research, and recognize and address the racial and ethnic disparities in the incidence and mortality rates of prostate cancer
- establish 4-year telehealth pilot projects in a variety of geographic areas that contain high proportions of medically underserved populations. Such projects will promote efficient use of specialist care through better coordination of primary care and physician extender teams in underserved areas and more effectively employ tumor boards to better counsel patients
- develop a coordinated national education campaign to align messages to the public concerning prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, and cancer.
"This bill helps bring much-needed focus on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this common cancer affecting men today," AUA President Sushil Lacy, MD, said.