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AUA ADVOCACY Patient Advocacy: Reflections From the ZERO Prostate Cancer Summit

Group of ZERO Advocates on Capitol Steps in DC

In this thought-provoking piece, ZERO board members Tom Hulsey and Teedra Bernard share their personal experiences with prostate cancer and the importance of patient advocacy. 

Teedra's father's victorious battle with prostate cancer and Tom's own life-saving early detection through a PSA test have fueled their passion for advocacy. They reflect on the business notion that "the customer is always right" and its relevance to patient advocacy, particularly for those facing cancer.

Tom and Teedra emphasize the crucial role of patient advocates in giving voice to those in need and ensuring their demands are met. ZERO's annual summit brings together these important leaders to advocate for patient-centered care, which extends beyond traditional medical treatment to address patients' mental, psychological, and social well-being.

The article highlights the disparities in prostate cancer outcomes among underserved Black and Hispanic populations and the importance of clear communication from physicians in overcoming language barriers and addressing health concerns effectively. ZERO supports legislation to eliminate cost-sharing for prostate cancer screenings, as even small costs can be a barrier to access for vulnerable groups.

The authors propose a provocative idea: tying physician rewards to patient advocacy rather than treatment volume. They stress the importance of robust support networks and cultural sensitivity in healthcare, drawing on their personal experiences with prostate cancer and the support they received from family, friends, and advocacy organizations like ZERO.

The ZERO Summit left them with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to spreading awareness and supporting the battle against prostate cancer within a community of advocates.

Read the full article by the AUA here 

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