Friday, September 22, 2023

Cory Booker Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Prostate Cancer Detection

U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and John Boozman (R-AR) introduced the bipartisan Prostate-Specific Antigen Screening for High-risk Insured Men Act, legislation that would require private health insurance plans to cover preventive prostate cancer screenings without imposing any cost sharing requirements for men who are at high risk of developing prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 American men in their lifetime. Further, individuals who have at least one close family member diagnosed with the disease are at least twice as likely to be diagnosed themselves. The risk increases with each additional family member affected. Additionally, prostate cancer disproportionately affects African-American men as they are 1.8 times more likely to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis and 2.2 times more likely to die from the disease.

Currently, the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test is the most effective tool for detecting prostate cancer. In many cases, prostate cancer is initially identified through this test as it measures the levels of PSA in the blood—a substance produced by the prostate that can be elevated in individuals with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer detected in Stage 1 is almost 100% survivable, compared to below 30% if caught at a later stage.

"Costs shouldn’t impose a barrier between people and lifesaving health screening services,” said Senator Booker. “Prostate cancer is a serious health concern, especially for African-American men and men with family history of this disease as they are more likely to face diagnosis and mortality. This bipartisan legislation would make prostate cancer screenings are more accessible to all high-risk men, so we can reduce health disparities and increase early detection to save lives."

“Diagnosing prostate cancer early is imperative to successful treatment. I know from personal experience in my own family the impact this disease has on patients and their loved ones. Increasing access to early screening for at-risk men will save lives. I am proud to be a voice in Congress for all those affected, because together we can help keep prostate cancer treatable and raise needed awareness,” said Senator Boozman

"Every step towards eliminating financial barriers to prostate cancer screening is a win for men and their families, particularly those at the highest risk for the disease, and the PSA for HIM Act is a significant step forward. We appreciate the leadership of Senator Booker and Senator Boozman and their efforts to make prostate cancer screening accessible to all," said Courtney Bugler, President and CEO of ZERO Prostate Cancer. "By ensuring that every individual has the opportunity for early detection and timely intervention, we are advancing significant progress to safeguard the health of our communities."

"Increasing the rate of prostate cancer early detection screening for Black men is vital to reducing the death rate disparity, which is the largest for any of the major cancers. The PSA Screening for HIM Act will be a strong catalyst to increase screening by removing the financial barrier that is faced by many. PHEN emphatically supports this legislation that will save countless lives and lead the way in addressing the prostate cancer racial disparity," said Thomas A. Farrington, Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) President and Founder.

“Screening can help detect prostate cancer at an early stage before the disease becomes more advanced and more difficult to treat; however out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays can be a barrier to accessing early detection,” said Lisa A. Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “The PSA Screening for HIM Act would remove a significant barrier that prevents far too many at high risk for prostate cancer, including those in the Black community, from getting screened. We thank Sens. Booker and Boozman for introducing this bill and look forward to working with them to get it passed.”

“The introduction of the Senate companion to the PSA for HIM Act is a tremendous win for prostate cancer patients,” said Eugene Rhee, MD, MBA, chair of the American Urological Association’s Public Policy Council. “This legislation will ensure that people who are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer are able to access screenings without cost-sharing barriers. Receiving regular PSA screenings can be the difference between catching this cancer early and being diagnosed with metastatic disease.”

The legislation is endorsed by the following organizations: Active Surveillance Patients International, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc., American Urological Association (AUA), Cancer & Careers, Cancer ABC's, Cancer Support Community, CancerCare, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions, Patient Empowerment Network, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Prostate Cancer Research Institute, Prostate Conditions Education Council, Prostate Health Education Network, RetireSafe, Seattle Children's Foundation, Sexual Medicine Society of North America, Society for Basic Urologic Research, Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates, Society of Urologic Oncology, Society of Women in Urology, Stand Up To Cancer, Triage Cancer, UsTOO Support Programs, ZERO Urology Care Foundation, Veterans Prostate Cancer Awareness Inc.,  ZERO Prostate Cancer.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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