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LEGISLATIVE ALERT: Bill Prioritizing Those at At-Risk for Prostate Cancer Hits House Floor

Ilana Ostrin, Media Relations
(202) 657-2249

Bipartisan legislation would waive prostate cancer screening cost-sharing for at-risk populations 

Washington, D.C. March 4, 2021 – Late last month, the Prostate-Specific Antigen Screening for High-risk Insured Men (PSA Screening for HIM) Act (H.R. 1176) was reintroduced on the House floor. ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, the leading national nonprofit in the fight against this disease, is proud to be an ongoing supporter of this bill and its proposal to eliminate screening cost-sharing for high-risk individuals.

This bipartisan legislative proposal aims to waive cost-sharing requirements for men with the highest risk of prostate cancer. The high-risk populations included in the legislation are Black men and those with a family history of the disease. The bill was previously introduced in the House by Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.) on November 24, 2019. 

“I am proud to have introduced the PSA Screening for HIM Act again this Congress.  I firmly believe that no one should ever need to forego a possibly lifesaving cancer screening due to cost,” said Rep. Rush.  “Early detection can quite literally be the difference between life and death and this is particularly true for those with the highest risk of developing prostate cancer.”

If the bill passes, men at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer would be able to receive prostate cancer screenings without deductibles, copayments, or coinsurances. Early detection is critical for overcoming prostate cancer: if the disease is caught early, there is a nearly 100 percent chance of survival. When the disease is caught in its advanced stages, however, the likelihood of survival drops to just 30 percent. 

“Access to and the ability to afford prostate cancer screenings shouldn’t be a barrier to receiving a simple and potentially life-saving diagnosis,” said ZERO’s VP of Government Relations & Advocacy, Alison Manson. “This effort has the power to give millions of men parity to free and easy-to-access cancer screenings, which are common among other cancers with similar impacts, like breast or ovarian.”

For the at-risk populations included in the legislation, this development could be critical to their likelihood of survival. Black men are more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than white men due to a lack of access to testing and care. This legislation is one of the many ways ZERO is engaged in combating the longstanding health inequities within prostate cancer. And, for men that have a family history of prostate cancer, a diagnosis is twice as likely compared to the average population.

New reporting released in early 2021 stated that prostate cancer diagnoses in 2021 are expected to reach historic highs, reaching nearly 250,000 cases; this means that an individual will be diagnosed every two minutes. Deaths are also anticipated to reach unprecedented highs, with nearly 132,000 expected to perish from the disease — that’s one person every 15 minutes. The prevalence and morbidity of prostate cancer — which is the second-most populous cancer among men —  exemplifies the urgent need for parity with other cancers for cost-free screenings. Black men are 80 percent more likely to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis than non-Hispanic white men.

Original cosponsors of H.R. 1176 include Brian Babin, D.D.S. (R-Texas), Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), André Carson (D-Ind.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-Fla.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Greg Murphy, M.D. (R-N.C.), Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), David Scott (D-Ga.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), and Roger Williams (R-Texas). New co-sponsors include Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Cynthia Axne (D-Iowa), David Scott (D-Ga.), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), and Roger Williams (R-Texas).

In addition to this legislation at the national level, ZERO is also working to increase parity for prostate cancer screenings at the state level. Recent legislative wins for ZERO include the passing of a bill in Maryland that removes prostate cancer screening cost-sharing for men ages 20-75 in the state. The law went into effect in January of this year. 

To take action on behalf of H.R. 1176, contact your Congressional representatives by clicking here

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.