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AUA urges Congress to establish inter-agency task force to align current federal efforts in prostate cancer research, awareness and healthcare delivery

LINTHICUM, MD, September 17, 2010–The American Urological Association (AUA) is pleased to announce its support for S. 3775, the Prostate Research, Outreach, Screening, Testing, Access and Treatment Effectiveness (PROSTATE) Act of 2010, introduced this week by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and George Voinovich (R-OH). Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY-10) is expected to introduce companion legislation in the House in the coming days. The AUA worked closely with the Senate to assist in the development of this critical legislation.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men, and more than 210,000 are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in 2010. There are significant racial disparities in regard to prostate cancer: African American men are not only more likely to develop the disease, but are also more than twice as likely to die from it. 

Significant national resources are focused on prostate cancer, but the disparate research and healthcare programs across federal agencies should be coordinated to improve accountability and actively encourage the translation of research into practice and to identify and implement best practices. The PROSTATE Act would help foster an integrated and coordinated focus on effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

Specifics of the bill include:

  • The formation of 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 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 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.
  • Require the development of a national education campaign intended to encourage men to seek prostate cancer screening when appropriate. The national campaign shall ensure materials are readily available in communities with racial disparities in the incidence and mortality of prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. One in six men will be diagnosed in his lifetime – and more than 210,000 men will be diagnosed this year alone,” said Datta Wagle, MD, president of the AUA. “We extend our thanks to Senators Tester and Voinovich for taking a leading role in combating prostate cancer by introducing this legislation.”

For more information about the urotrauma legislation, please contact AUA Communications at 410-689-3932 or The following spokespeople are also available for interviews:

  • Beth Kosiak, PhD, AUA associate executive director of health policy

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 16,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients.

Wendy Isett, AUA