Removing Barriers to Prostate Cancer Care

Achieving health equity in prostate cancer care is no easy task, but we're up for the challenge. We're committed to working together with our patients, advocates, community, and healthcare partners to ensure fair and just support for those affected by prostate cancer.

End Prostate Cancer sign

Efforts toward health equity in prostate cancer

Knowing what health equity means and why it's important is essential to removing obstacles and making care more equitable for people with prostate cancer. But this is just the start. Recognizing and understanding the barriers to prostate cancer care is the first step. After that, it's really important to actually work on getting rid of those barriers that make it hard for people to learn about, get screened for, and receive treatment to fight against prostate cancer. In order to help everyone have a fair and just chance to prevent, find, treat, and survive prostate cancer, these efforts are vital.

Health education & cancer awareness

Health Education & Cancer Awareness

One of the most important parts of working towards health equity in prostate cancer is increasing awareness and educating about the risks of prostate cancer, finding it early, and treating it. Learning more about prostate cancer can help people at risk and their families talk to their doctors and practice shared decision-making about routine screenings.

Because of the disparities in prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment, health education is especially important in historically underserved communities. But the education and help given must be tailored to each community's culture and needs. Any resources need to be given in a way that is meaningful and lasting. The information should also be easy to understand and access, no matter where someone lives or their education level.

ZERO has several awareness and education resources and materials available for everyone! Please feel free to visit our education pages for more information about prostate cancer.

Access to prostate cancer screening & treatment

Access to prostate cancer screening & treatment

Increased education is extremely important for people at risk for prostate cancer. But it's not enough just to give information. They also need easier ways to get tested regularly. Even if they know a lot about prostate cancer, if they can't get screened for it, they can't protect their health.

Unfortunately, there are no national laws that require private health insurance companies to cover prostate cancer screening or provide no-cost testing. However, state governments in New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Illinois have passed bills to remove cost barriers to screenings and tests. And through the ZERO Cost to Prostate Cancer Screening initiative, efforts are underway to bring this legislation across the country.

Sometimes, receiving coverage for prostate cancer screening and treatment can be as simple as contacting the health insurance provider. For more information on how to increase chances for coverage and step-by-step recommendations, please visit the Shipley Prostate Cancer Research Center’s website.

For people who might not have good insurance, no insurance, or live far away from healthcare facilities, it's even harder to get tested for prostate cancer. But there are providers, groups, and events that provide low- to no-cost screenings at different points of or throughout the year. For more information about these resources, please feel free to use ZERO’s testing location database.

Community engagement, collaboration, & partnerships

Community engagement, collaboration, & partnerships

Providing resources like education and testing to people at risk for prostate cancer in a way that really makes a difference and lasts a long time requires us to carefully and seriously work together. To make health equity in the prostate cancer space a reality, we have to team up with everyone who is involved in fighting this disease and connect with respected leaders in the communities we want to help.

These partnerships should be tailored to fit each community's history, culture, and needs. We should also team up with advocates and groups that aren't directly focused on prostate cancer. Because prostate cancer health disparities are caused by widespread issues in the healthcare system and beyond, we can't solve these issues by ourselves. But if we work together with people and groups across different fields, we can encourage more active involvement and help bridge the gaps in prostate cancer screening and care.

As part of our efforts to work closely with communities, ZERO has different projects focused on education and advocacy. The "Prostate Cancer in the Black Community" Film Series is one of these initiatives. It's an event that shows how prostate cancer affects Black communities and teaches how to fight it. Each event helps empower Black community members to get tested and treated for prostate cancer. Please visit the Film Series page for more information!

Prostate cancer patient empowerment & support

Prostate Cancer Patient Empowerment & Support

We want to make sure that everyone has a fair and just chance to find, treat, and survive prostate cancer. We know that in order to do that, we need to advocate and work towards changing the healthcare system to better serve historically underserved communities. But we also know this won't happen quickly, and even if it did, it's not all we need to do.

People with prostate cancer and their families need a lot of help and strength as they go through this journey. They need to know that they are not alone. They need to know that they have the right to speak up for themselves, make their own choices that are best for them, and ask for information in a way that they will understand.

Finding, fighting, and surviving prostate cancer can be mentally, emotionally, and psychologically traumatizing. Until the healthcare system is changed – and even after it is – people at risk for prostate cancer, prostate cancer patients, and their families need as much support as possible. To serve and support them, ZERO has many groups all over the country that can help with the unique issues that prostate cancer patients face and help improve overall quality of life during and after treatment.

Some of the groups specifically serve historically underserved groups, including the LGBTQ+ support group and the support group for Deaf people. Under the Black Men’s Prostate Cancer Initiative, ZERO has a nationwide virtual support group and an in-person support group based in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information and to find a support group, please feel free to use our peer support page.