The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Rep. Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-FL) to help the VA tackle prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the number one cancer diagnosed in the Veterans Health Administration, with over 489,000 veterans undergoing treatment.
The Veterans Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act would establish a national clinical pathway for prostate cancer, a standardized system of care for the treatment of what is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the veterans’ health system.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis among veterans, and more prevalent among African American veterans than anyone else – one of the many health disparities that African Americans face,” Rep. Joe Cunningham said. “This bipartisan legislation will go a long way toward improving health care outcomes for our veterans by standardizing treatment options and expanding access to cutting-edge clinical trials.”
Veterans who have been in contact with toxins such as Agent Orange are at higher risk for prostate cancer. Establishing a clinical pathway will standardize treatment options and result in improved outcomes for these patients. Additionally, this bill will create a real-time registry to track patient progress and will allow patients greater access to cutting edge clinical trials.
Speaking on the House floor before the vote (see below), Cunningham encouraged his colleagues to support the bipartisan legislation, saying, “Prostate cancer is the number one cancer diagnosed in the Veterans Health Administration, and numerous reports have established a link between cancer and military service, including exposure to certain herbicides like Agent Orange. Early detection of this disease is critical, and veterans deserve a health system that provides both early detection, and successful treatment. This bill will do that.”