Introduction of a proposed National Prostate Cancer Council Act

So, according to a communication to its members from the American Urological Association (AUA), U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D, CA) and Jeff Sessions (R, AL) have just introduced S. 2813, the National Prostate Cancer Council Act.

The bill has been written to create a council of federal agencies, patients, and medical experts within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that are charged with drafting and implementing a national strategy to combat prostate cancer.

Specifically, S. 2813 tasks the council to do the following:

  • Develop and implement a national strategic plan for the accelerated creation, advancement, and testing of diagnostic tools to improve screening, early detection, assessment, and monitoring of prostate cancer
  • Provide information and coordination of prostate cancer research and services across all federal agencies
  • Review diagnostic tools and their overall effectiveness at screening, detecting, assessing, and monitoring of prostate cancer
  • Evaluate all programs in prostate cancer that are in existence, including federal budget requests and approvals and public-private partnerships
  • Submit an annual report to the HHS Secretary and Congress on the creation and implementation of the national strategic plan
  • Ensure the inclusion of men at high-risk for prostate cancer, including men from ethnic and racial populations and men who are least likely to receive care, in clinical, research, and service efforts, with the purpose of decreasing health disparities.

According to the statement from the AUA,

The medical experts would be made up of eight healthcare stakeholders with specific expertise in prostate cancer research in the critical areas of clinical expertise, including medical oncology, radiology, radiation oncology, urology, and pathology.

Now it should be pointed out that the introduction of this bill just a few months prior to the election in November does raise questions about the reality of this bill actually “going anywhere” in either the Senate or the House of Representatives. The theory behind such a bill is to be applauded. Whether one should actually expect it to be passed by the Senate (let alone the House) prior to the end of the current Congressional session is a very different question.

4 Responses

  1. Is there a council for breast cancer? If so, it might provide some idea of the benefits of such a council. If not, it raises the question, of why have such a council …

  2. Hopeless. This Congress cannot pass important legislation or address the big issues so I see no hope for this one. It is just window dressing so they can appease us and say they proposed a piece of legislation.

  3. Political cynicism is in vogue, but I’m not sure it’s appropriate here. Senator Boxer isn’t up for re-election until 2016, and Senator Sessions is running unopposed.

    Even if I’m naive, I’d prefer simply to applaud good efforts and castigate bad ones, and to leave political tea-leaf guesswork and commentary to the pundits.

  4. Paul:

    The problem is that any legislation introduced in the current session that isn’t voted on by December 31st will just have to start all over again with the new Congress. This is not a matter of cynicism, and it has nothing to do with whether Senators Boxer and Sessions get re-elected or not. It is a matter of pure legislative process.

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