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House Passes Bill to Cover and Reimburse Process that Makes Prostate Cancer Biopsy Safer

ZERO – The End of Prostate cancer applauds the passage of the Health Equity and Access for Returning Troops and Servicemembers Act of 2018 (H.R. 6886) and commends U.S. Rep. Rush (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Buschon (R-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Larson (D-CT), U.S. Rep. Johnson (R-TX), and U.S. Rep. Thompson (D-MS) for their work on this bill.

The HEARTS Act establishes Medicare coverage and reimbursement for DNA Specimen Provenance Assay (DSPA) tests on prostate cancer biopsies. DSPA testing will make the prostate cancer diagnosis process safer and more accurate.

Prostate cancer biopsies are particularly susceptible to contamination because of the number of cores required to make a diagnosis. The current method to diagnose prostate cancer is via needle biopsy of the prostate. Over 800,000 prostate biopsies are performed on men each year. However, despite the most rigorous protocols for obtaining and handling specimens, about 2.5 percent are subject to specimen provenance complications (SPCs), where a specimen from one patient is transposed with or contaminated by that of another patient.

“Many patients receive inaccurate biopsy results. This is tragic because when treated early, prostate cancer has a nearly one hundred percent five-year survival rate. Conversely, patients with contaminated or transposed biopsies receive false positives, leading to unnecessary treatment and side effects when in fact there was no cancer,” said Drew Saelens, Vice President of Government Affairs and Patient Advocacy at ZERO. “We support DSPA technology because it reduces men’s suffering from misdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer.”

We encourage the Senate to follow suit and take up a similar bill that makes prostate cancer biopsy safer and more accurate for all men.

The passage of this bill comes with a week left in Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. ZERO would like remind men and their families of the importance of early detection and screening, especially for high risk groups including African Americans, men with a family history, and Veterans. Talk to your doctor about establishing a baseline Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) level at 45 if you are not in a high risk group and earlier if you are.

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. ZERO advances research, improves the lives of men and families, and inspires action. We’re building Generation ZERO, the first generation of men free from prostate cancer, through our national run/walk series, education and patient support programs, and grassroots advocacy. ZERO is a 501(c)(3) philanthropic organization recognized with four out of four stars by Charity Navigator, accredited by the Better Business Bureau, with regional chapters across the country. We dedicate 85 cents of every dollar to research and programs. For more information, visit www.zerocancer.org.