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

LINTHICUM, MD, June 14, 2011–The American Urological Association (AUA) is pleased to announce its support for the Prostate Research, Outreach, Screening, Testing, Access and Treatment Effectiveness (PROSTATE) Act of 2011, H.R. 2159, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by Representatives Edolphus Towns (D-NY-10) and Paul Broun, MD (R-GA-10). Companion legislation, S. 1190, was also introduced in the Senate today by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Roy Blunt (R-MO). The AUA worked closely with lawmakers to assist in the development of this critical legislation, which was previously introduced in 2010.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in men. More than 217,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, and more than 32,000 died from the disease. 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 federal agencies should determine to what extent they can coordinate the numerous prostate cancer and healthcare programs, actively encourage the translation of research into practice and identify and implement best practices. The PROSTATE Act can help foster a more integrated and coordinated focus on effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

Specifics of this budget-neutral bill include:

  • 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 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. 
  • Develop a coordinated national education campaign to align messages to the public concerning prostate cancer screening, diagnosis and cancer. The national campaign shall ensure materials are readily available in communities with racial disparities in the incidence and mortality of prostate cancer.

“We would like to thank Reps. Towns and Broun, as well as Sens. Tester and Blunt, for their leadership in introducing the PROSTATE Act and taking a stand to help combat prostate cancer,” said AUA President Sushil Lacy, MD. “This bill helps bring much-needed focus on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of this common cancer affecting men today.”

The PROSTATE Act of 2011 was introduced in the House by Representatives Towns and Broun with the following original cosponsors: Andre Carson (D-IN-07), Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11), Jim Gerlach (R-PA-06), Steve Israel (D-NY-02), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30), Peter King (R-NY-03), Barbara Lee (D-CA-09), Mike McIntyre (D-NC-07), Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Charles Rangel (D-NY-15), Laura Richardson (D-CA-37), Frederica Wilson (D-FL-17) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS-02).

The bill was also introduced in the Senate by Senators Tester and Blunt, with Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) as cosponsors.

For more information about the PROSTATE Act, 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 17,000 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