Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., introduced H.R. 6389, the Prostate Act on Sept. 29. The legislation seeks to establish an inter-agency task force to align federal efforts in prostate cancer research, awareness and healthcare delivery.
Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, introduced the Senate version on Sept. 14. The American Urological Association (AUA) said it worked closely with lawmakers to develop the legislation.
The specifics of the bill include:
- The formation of an Inter-agency 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 screening and treatment for prostate cancer.
- Require the VA, DoD and HHS to coordinate and intensify prostate cancer research, including improvements or alternatives to the prostate-specific antigen (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 four-year telehealth pilot projects in a variety of geographic areas, including rural, that contain high proportions of medically underserved populations. Such projects will promote use of specialist care through coordination of primary care and physician extender teams in underserved areas and employ tumor boards to better counsel patients.
- Require the development of a national education campaign intended to encourage men to seek prostate cancer screening when appropriate. The campaign will ensure materials are readily available in communities with racial disparities in the incidence and mortality of prostate cancer.