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ZERO's World Cancer Day Message

A Message from ZERO's CEO, Courtney Bugler

Blue background with the words "World Cancer Day", with a blue prostate cancer ribbon replacing the "a" in the word "cancer"

As we recognize World Cancer Day, our relentless pursuit of a world with ZERO prostate cancer takes on a new urgency. This past month, prostate cancer has been in the national headlines and the news is not good. First, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released its annual “Cancer Facts and Figures,” which contained news about the continued rise in prostate cancer diagnoses, including an increase in advanced prostate cancer cases. ACS’s updated report estimates that in 2024, 299,010 men will be told they have prostate cancer, and 35,250 men will die from the disease. 

Just days before this new report, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced he’s recovering from prostate cancer surgery that took place in December. Then in late January, MLB Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg revealed that he’s battling metastatic prostate cancer. And sadly, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s son, Dexter King, passed on January 22 after his battle with the disease.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” This disease continues to plague our Black fathers, brothers, family, and friends at higher rates, with Black men being nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed and die from prostate cancer. Behind these troubling statistics lie deeply entrenched healthcare inequities. Lack of access, lack of trust, lack of diversity in the care team – barriers exist at every point, from screening and diagnosis to accessing cutting-edge treatments. 

We know breaking down barriers to screening is critical in addressing these decade-long health inequities, and we’ve made it a key priority in our advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures. Our bold goal this year is to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for high-risk patients being screened for prostate cancer. No one who undergoes a PSA test for prostate cancer should have to cover the costs of coinsurance, co-pays, deductibles, or denied coverage. With new momentum for the PSA for HIM Act, this could be one of the most important years for our cause to make early detection more accessible for all, especially those who need it most.

Our voices must be louder to meet the greatest needs of the prostate cancer community and those at the highest risk. Not just louder with policymakers, but also in the national conversation about men’s health to help combat the persistent stigma that exists in prostate cancer. A prostate cancer diagnosis should not have to be shared in hushed tones, behind closed doors, or in shame. Patients and their families need information; they need to be empowered, and they need to have access to the best treatment possible. They need our compassion and support. No one should have to face prostate cancer alone.

As part of our mission-first strategy, ZERO is working toward a significant, multi-year investment to expand our mission to meet the growing needs in communities across the country. Our commitment to eliminating prostate cancer disparities is at the heart of this investment. All of our work will be driven by elevating awareness and screening, decreasing metastatic diagnoses, and improving patients' quality and quantity of life to reduce mortality.

People at risk, prostate cancer patients, and their families and loved ones are depending on us to be bolder and make an even bigger impact. We are committed to doing just that. Now is no time to sit on the sidelines. We need everyone to help make prostate cancer a nationwide priority. 

If you haven’t already, please sign up here to receive our advocacy alerts and be the first to know about opportunities to advance policies that matter to the prostate cancer community. 

Together, we will save more lives.

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