H.R. 6092 has been passed by the House Committee and holds the promise of a unified treatment pathway for nearly a half-million veterans with prostate cancer
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A movement to establish a national clinical pathway for veterans battling prostate cancer is one step closer to becoming law as the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a markup today on H.R. 6092, Veteran’s Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act, where the language was finalized and reported from the Committee. It now must go before the full House of Representatives.
This bill — a top priority for ZERO that would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a national clinical pathway for prostate cancer — was first introduced in the House of Representatives in March of this year by Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02), a urologist by training. Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC-01) is the lead Democratic cosponsor of the legislation. ZERO and its supporters were instrumental in the effort to introduce and support this unprecedented and crucial bill, alongside Dunn, Cunningham, and other prostate cancer advocates.
“A standardized system of care for treatment is critical for the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the veterans’ health system,” said Alison Manson, Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy at ZERO. “Prostate cancer is the number one cancer diagnosed in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) with over 489,000 veterans undergoing treatment. H.R. 6092 is a first step in creating an enhanced, streamlined, and meaningful health experience for these brave individuals who have given so much to this country.”
“Veterans have increased rates of prostate cancer — nearly double that of civilians — likely due to exposure to chemicals, multiple radiation sources, and other environmental hazards while in service,” said Mike Crosby, a U.S. Navy veteran, and a prostate cancer patient. “This, plus the need for standardized risk-stratified screening across the high number of male patients existing in the VHA system, makes this bill urgent and necessary.”
A unified prostate cancer clinical treatment pathway, which includes an evidence-based timeline to use when making care decisions, could clarify treatment options, ensure that veterans across the VHA system are receiving the same standard of care, and result in improved patient outcomes. Additionally, this bill would create a real-time registry to track patient progress and enrollment in clinical trials.
In early 2021, the prostate cancer community will have a critical opportunity to help make the case for increased investment in prostate cancer research and veterans’ health at the 2021 Virtual ZERO Prostate Cancer Summit (Feb. 28 – Mar. 4). It is more important than ever to raise our voices to find an end to this awful disease. This year’s legislative programming will include virtual Hill visits, lessons in effective lobbying, updates for veterans, and more. Registration opens on Oct. 1, 2020; it is free to sign up. For more information, visit zerocancer.org/summit. To stay updated on other advocacy efforts from ZERO, visit zerocancer.org/advocacy.
About ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer
ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer is the leading national nonprofit with the mission to end prostate cancer and help all who are impacted. ZERO advances research, provides support, and creates solutions to achieve health equity to meet the most critical needs of our community. From early detection to survivorship, ZERO is the premier resource for prostate cancer patients and their families to access comprehensive support, make meaningful connections, and take action to save lives. Our dedicated national and chapter staff is joined with a growing team of passionate volunteer champions to increase advocacy, awareness, and community engagement to ZERO out prostate cancer. ZERO is recognized with four out of four stars by Charity Navigator and accredited by the Better Business Bureau. ZERO spends more on programs than any other prostate cancer charity, dedicating 85 cents of every dollar to support, education, and research.