Boozman, Booker sponsor legislation to make prostate screenings more accessible

(Metro Newspaper Service)

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., have introduced legislation to expand insurance coverage for prostate cancer screenings.

The bipartisan Prostate-Specific Antigen Screening for High-risk Insured Men Act would require private health insurance plans to cover preventive prostate cancer screenings without imposing any cost-sharing requirements for men who are at high risk of developing prostate cancer.

"Diagnosing prostate cancer early is imperative to successful treatment. I know from personal experience in my own family the impact this disease has on patients and their loved ones. Increasing access to early screening for at-risk men will save lives. I am proud to be a voice in Congress for all those affected, because together we can help keep prostate cancer treatable and raise needed awareness," Boozman man.

Booker said the cost of treatment should not become a barrier for those seeking health care.

"Prostate cancer is a serious health concern, especially for African-American men and men with family history of this disease as they are more likely to face diagnosis and mortality," Booker said. "This bipartisan legislation would make prostate cancer screenings more accessible to all high-risk men, so we can reduce health disparities and increase early detection to save lives."

Prostate cancer affects one in eight American men in their lifetime. Individuals who have at least one close family member diagnosed with the disease are at least twice as likely to be diagnosed themselves. The risk increases with each additional family member affected.

Prostate cancer disproportionately affects African-American men as they are 1.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and 2.2 times more likely to die from it, according to a news release from Boozman's office

The Prostate-Specific Antigen test is the most effective tool for detection. When detected in Stage 1, the cancer has almost a 100 percent survivable.

"The introduction of the Senate companion to the PSA for HIM Act is a tremendous win for prostate cancer patients," said Dr. Eugene Rhee, chair of the American Urological Association's Public Policy Council. "This legislation will ensure that people who are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer are able to access screenings without cost-sharing barriers. Receiving regular PSA screenings can be the difference between catching this cancer early and being diagnosed with metastatic disease."

The legislation endorsed by the following organizations: Active Surveillance Patients International, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc., American Urological Association (AUA), Cancer & Careers, Cancer ABC's, Cancer Support Community, CancerCare, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions, Patient Empowerment Network, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Prostate Cancer Research Institute, Prostate Conditions Education Council, Prostate Health Education Network, RetireSafe, Seattle Children's Foundation, Sexual Medicine Society of North America, Society for Basic Urologic Research, Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates, Society of Urologic Oncology, Society of Women in Urology, Stand Up To Cancer, Triage Cancer, UsTOO Support Programs, ZERO Urology Care Foundation, Veterans Prostate Cancer Awareness Inc. and ZERO Prostate Cancer.

The full text of the bill can be found here and by visiting the "Cosponsored Legislation" link under the About tab on Boozman's website, Boozman.Senate.Gov.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.