LINTHICUM, MD, January 19, 2012 – The American Urological Association (AUA) today applauds the passage in the State of New Jersey of an act opposing the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations on the use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.
The act (AJR89/SJR77) is “memorializing the Congress of the United States to seek the withdrawal of the United States Preventative Services Task Force recommendation against prostate-specific antigen-based screening for prostate cancer for men in all age groups” was passed unanimously by both the Assembly (74-0) and the Senate (36-0). The resolution, signed yesterday by Governor Chris J. Christie (R), was sponsored in the Assembly by late Republican Leader Alex DeCroce (R-26) and Joan M. Quigley (D-32). The Senate version was sponsored by Democratic Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37), Joseph F. Vitale (D-19) and Fred H. Madden (D-4).
The AUA would also like to express its sincere appreciation to David L. Taylor, MD, Chairman of the Board of the New Jersey Patient Care and Access Coalition (NJPCAC) and President of Garden State Urology in Morristown, NJ for working with the New Jersey Legislature to pass this important legislation. The commitment of NJPCAC in leading over 100 practicing urologists to educate policy makers and other key stakeholders on the issues affecting their profession and most importantly their patients is to be commended most heartily.
“Other states should take notice of New Jersey’s impressive and decisive stand against the USPSTF recommendations and the positive step forward in ensuring coverage of the PSA test for men in New Jersey. The AUA encourages other states to do likewise,” said AUA Health Policy Vice Chair David F. Penson, MD, MPH.
The AUA continues to be concerned that the USPFTF’s recommendations will ultimately do more harm than good to the many men at risk for prostate cancer. The AUA’s current clinical recommendations expressed in the Association’s Prostate-Specific Antigen Best Practice Statement (2009) support the use of the PSA test. When interpreted appropriately, the PSA test provides important information in the diagnosis, pre-treatment staging or risk assessment and monitoring of prostate cancer patients. Additionally, it should be mentioned that the AUA is currently developing a clinical guideline on the Detection of Prostate Cancer, scheduled to be released in 2013.
“A man’s decision to be tested for prostate cancer is a personal one that he should talk over with his doctor,” said AUA President Sushil S. Lacy, MD, FACS. “Not all prostate cancers require active treatment and not all prostate cancers are life threatening but the bottom line is that we cannot manage any cancer if we don’t know it’s there.”
In 2009, the USPSTF was prominently featured in the Affordable Care Act which mandated that USPSTF-endorsed (“A” and “B”) preventive services receive first-dollar coverage from Medicare and private health insurance plans, making the USPSTF’s recent “D” recommendation for PSA especially troubling. Until there is a better widespread test for this potentially devastating disease, the USPSTF – by disparaging testing for prostate cancer – is doing a great disservice to patients worldwide who could benefit.
Following the October release of the USPSTF recommendations, the AUA aligned itself with its allies in the patient advocacy community to oppose the recommendation and has been working regionally, distributing information to its eight geographic Sections and respective state urologic societies across the country encouraging them to voice their concerns about the recommendations. The AUA engaged its champions in the Congress to author letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius encouraging the opposition to the recommendation. Additional information about the AUA response to the USPSTF can be found online at www.AUAnet.org/USPSTF.
For more information about the AUA’s position on the early detection of prostate cancer, or to arrange an interview with any of the following experts, please contact the AUA Communications Office at 410-689-3932. Experts available for interview:
- David F. Penson, MD, MPH, Vice Chair, Health Policy
- Beth Kosiak, PhD, Associate Executive Director, Health Policy
- Sandie J. Preiss, MPA, Director, Government Relations & Advocacy
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 18,000 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 Waldsachs Isett, AUA