U.S. House of Representatives Includes Prostate Cancer Screening Language in Appropriations Bill

By Policy and Advocacy Brief posted 05-14-2019 16:26


On May 7, in its report to the Fiscal Year 2020 Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, the House Appropriations Committee included language encouraging the National Cancer Institute to increase its investment in research for prostate cancer screening in high-risk populations. The inclusion of this language is in direct response to ongoing advocacy by the AUA and other groups and meetings held during the 2019 Annual Urology Advocacy Summit.

Our request for this language stems from the 2018 upgrade in recommendations for prostate cancer screening by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which, at the time, was unable to give specific insight for African American men – citing a lack of available research evidence of the benefits to this population.

The following language is available in the report:

Prostate Cancer.—The Committee is aware of NCI’s efforts in prostate cancer research and encourages additional investment into understanding why certain populations, including African-American men and men with a strong family history of prostate cancer, have the highest incidence rate of this disease. The Committee urges NCI to consider how diagnostic and genetic testing and screening may reduce the rate of mortality among high-risk populations.

“This is a great victory for urology, and more specifically, prostate cancer patients and their families. It would not have been possible without all the hard work of the urologists, allied partners, and patient advocates that attended the AUA Summit and lobbied their legislators on this important issue,” said Dr. Christopher Gonzalez, chair of the AUA Public Policy Council.

While the report does not require the NCI to apply its appropriated funds in any specific way, it is a strong encouragement and provides an outline on what Congress believes are the important issues to focus on. The AUA will continue working with members of the House and Senate, as well as in conjunction with various research agencies, to ensure that appropriate data is being collected regarding prostate cancer incidence rates in men around the country.

The full report is available here. The language for the department of Health & Human Services starts on page 36, and the prostate cancer language can be found on page 83.

AUA Legislative Affairs Committee Chair Dr. Thomas Rechtschaffen added, “this win illustrates the strength of urology’s voice when united behind a singular cause.”

If you have any questions on the appropriations report or the language specific to prostate cancer screening, please contact the AUA’s Legislative & Political Affairs department at LegislativeAffairs@AUAnet.org.