One Step Closer – Resolution Passes S.C. House

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“We are changing the tide…. NOW in South Carolina, PSA screening is still advocated!” – Dr. Vipul Patel

It was in May of 2012 that those in the fight against prostate cancer received what could become a most fatal blow with respect to prostate cancer screening, detection, diagnosis and most importantly prevention and treatment.  At the time the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a decision that would recommend against the use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for men at risk of prostate cancer.  Opposition and controversy grew quickly, with leaders such as the American Urological Association vocalizing the shear importance of PSA screening for men – a simple blood test, that acts as the only widely available test for prostate cancer.

The decision has been at the forefront of our battle here at The International Prostate Cancer Foundation (IPCF) and it is with great satisfaction that we announce a monumental achievement in our efforts, and of those with us in the fight to resolve this issue:

As of March 12th 2013, the South Carolina House has passed a resolution petitioning the United States Congress – to seek withdrawal of the USPSTF recommendations against PSA screening.

The resolution successfully passed the South Carolina Senate in February of this year, and with combined concurrence the prospective impact looks promising.

Expressed gratitude is due and extended to Senator Nikki Setzler of South Carolina for his continued support and direct involvement in said initiative.  A valued board member of The International Prostate Cancer Foundation, former patient of Dr. Vipul Patel, activist and prostate cancer survivor, we salute him!

As we celebrate this historic event, Senator Setzler leaves us with the following statement:

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“I want to sincerely thank my colleagues in the S.C. General Assembly for their support of this resolution. I think it sends the wrong message when our citizens are discouraged from seeking early detection of life-threatening diseases. Knowledge is power. Informed patients guided by knowledgeable, competent physicians can make the best choices about their health care and treatment options. I am a living testament of that. In closing, I want to thank the International Prostate Cancer Foundation for all its efforts. The organization has helped to change my life and the lives of many others.” – Nikki Setzler

We are now even one step closer to eradicating prostate cancer!!

Our hope is that triumphs such as these act as a catalyst for change nationwide.  We perpetuate such efforts through our petition to the USPSTF – urging themto recant their negative decision – and encourage you ALL to sign, support and spread the initiative!

ACTION facilitates CHANGE, and change can SAVE LIVES!!

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For more info on resolution:

www.scstatehouse.gov/bills

www.scstatehouse.gov/pref13s2

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IPCF Highlights the Prostate Cancer Roundtable’s National Policy UPDATES

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Prostate Cancer – an ongoing battle, a prevalent topic of concern and a cause to support!  At the International Prostate Cancer Foundation (IPCF), we fight daily to educate and raise awareness, knowing however that this battle is not one to be conquered alone.  It is with respect and appreciation that we highlight the current efforts of the Prostate Cancer Roundtable as they update their National Policy Agenda to better serve those at risk of this deadly disease.  Only with combined recognition of the threat can we impact necessary change.

With similar goals to the IPCF, the Prostate Cancer Roundtable acts as a forum to establish and ensure a shared set of valued legislative and scientific priorities affecting the prevention, detection of risk, diagnosis, and management of prostate cancer.  Recently, the members have updated this shared national policy agenda for use in 2013.  The result?  A basis for discussions with policy and key decision makers, that will hold strong and push for progress.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) was a main topic of focus as the updated agenda would seek revisions to the decision making process of the USPSTF.  Specifically, to make certain that the USPSTF make all efforts to gather input from those whom are experts in the particular area of preventative services under review.  To date, the 16 volunteer members of the USPSTF had been those entrusted with gathering evidence for use in decision making.  This process often neglected referencing different specialized experts for differing diseases.  No longer will decisions without full reference to patient advocacy groups, specialty medical groups & federal agencies be accepted.

Agenda priorities such as these are sure to have a standing impact.  We have spoken about the negative impact of which previous USPSTF decisions have had on prostate cancer screening & prevention and we see this a positive step forward, preventing such occurrences.

Along with the above, other fundamental priorities of the agenda include to:

  • Increase funding for Prostate Cancer specific research up to $120 million/year
  • Increase federal funding for Cancer in general
  • Pass the Bill to create an Office on Men’s Health within the HHS
  • Establish a Prostate Cancer Scientific Advisory Board within the FDA

It is with a sense of relief that the International Prostate Cancer Foundation presents such efforts to you, as we are in agreement.  Every day presents a challenge, however it is becoming quite clear that advocates are stepping up to the battle and working to create an integrated legislative force of support with respect to prostate cancer and all those affected by it.

Congress Committed to New Jersey Legislature Supporting PSA Test…. Let’s Push Further!

Android_Congress It is clear that we have been applying special focus to events as they relate to the importance of PSA screening, a key tool in the fight against prostate cancer. The issue continues to be relevant throughout the country as new legislature emerges. Recent happenings highlight the New Jersey Legislature as they have successfully approved an act that opposes the negative recommendations made by the United States Preventive Task Force (USPSTF), in regards to PSA testing.

Specifically the act (AJR89/SJR77) asks “the Congress of the United States to seek the withdrawal of the United States Preventative Services Task Force recommendation against prostate-specific antigen-based screening for prostate cancer for men in all age groups ” Not only do the recommendations of the USPSTF discourage and send mixed signals to patients, they furthermore have a direct impact on medical coverage. The Affordable Care Act mandates that preventive services with “A” and “B” ratings receive first dollar coverage from Medicare and Private Health Insurance plans. With a “D” rating, the PSA test faces concerning levels of adversity. Even when a patient is knowledgeable enough to request the test, he may face financial barriers if not covered!

At the International Prostate Cancer Foundation we enthusiastically applaud the efforts and achievements of the New Jersey Patient Care and Access Coalition (NJPCA). Their commitment has lead hundreds of urologists to educate policy makers and key stakeholders on the importance of protecting the health of men in New Jersey. It is with the same effort that we have released a petition urging the USPSTF to withdraw their decision against the use PSA testing. With the goal of serving men nationwide, we encourage you to click here and sign the petition!

We hope that such successes mark the beginning of significant change in this matter. Ultimately we aim to push through further legislation, namely the PROSTATE Act. Drafted by the AUA the Prostate Research, Outreach, Screening, Testing, Access and Effectiveness (PROSTATE) Act fosters an integrated and coordinated approach to the battle against prostate cancer. With a continued and decisive stance, Congress is bound to take notice.

PSA Petition soon to reach 5,000 signatures….. Let’s shoot for 10,000! CREATE ACTION!!

We want to first thank our community for all of your continued efforts, support, and interest as you follow the ongoing developments surrounding this cause. Through our combined initiatives we have made considerable accomplishments and enthusiastically update you on the status of our progress.

As so many of you have signed and shared our petition, urging the USPSTF to recant their negative decision toward PSA testing, please take pride as we announce successfully reaching upwards of 4,400 signatures! Progressing at this rate we have high hopes of reaching 5,000 by this months end, if not sooner. Keeping with an aggressive approach this only motivates us further as we push toward the 10,000 signature mark! It is with confidence that we ask our community to maintain their persistence, spreading the word and calling upon their peers to sign our petition. Reaching 10,000 will be monumental in receiving national coverage and recognition. With this, key decision makers including congress, the media and the global community will be all but forced to take notice and take ACTION! Together we can CHANGE.