Lawmakers introduce prostate-cancer bill

Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) introduced legislation this week aimed at aligning federal efforts regarding prostate-cancer research, awareness and healthcare delivery.

The bill establishes a federal interagency task force, convened by the Department of Veterans Affairs with representation from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense.

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) is expected to introduce companion legislation to the Prostate Research, Outreach, Screening, Testing, Access and Treatment Effectiveness (PROSTATE) Act of 2010 in the House.

The bill comes as prostate-cancer activists are marking National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month with several requests from lawmakers:

• Increase the National Cancer Institute’s $5 billion annual budget to accelerate basic and treatment sciences research for human prostate cancer from $294 million to a transparent $400 million;

• Increase the appropriation for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for Prostate Cancer at the Department of Defense to $120 million from $80 million;

• Establish an Office on Men’s Health (OMH) in the Department of Health and Human Services equivalent to The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) established in 1991;

• Create a Prostate Cancer Scientific Advisory Board for the Office of the Chief Scientist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to accelerate real-time sharing of the latest research data and accelerate movement of new medicines to patients;

• Create human capital by launching more careers of the best and brightest scientists in the U.S. to solve the prostate cancer problem.