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daup h i n c m s .o rg

Healthy policy in the United States is
The PSA biomarker is as good a screening
determined, largely, by advocacy - not tool as other cancer screening tools. In fact,
need and science. Look at the amount the introduction of PSA in the late '80s-early
of money spent on AIDS research, then '90s caused a rise in finding prostate cancer
compare it to breast and prostate cancer in its earlier stages. The problem today is not
studies. We find that AIDS research has its ability to aid in the discovery of prostate
received two times the funding that's been cancer, but what follows after it is found.
allocated for breast and prostate research; Men must understand that they need to
not because more people die of AIDS than visit a physician when they are well, not just
of breast and prostate cancer, but because when they are sick. Establishing a baseline
AIDS activists have been very successful in number is the benefit of PSA screening.
advocating for their issues. Nationally, about Comparing and analyzing that number
37,000 women will die of breast cancer when the next screening is completed is
this year. Almost the same amount of men key to maintaining good prostate health.
(32,000) will die of prostate cancer. Society
recognizes the pink ribbon that symbolizes
Men take better care of their automobiles
breast cancer awareness, but few are aware than their health. It is not uncommon for
that the blue ribbon symbolizes prostate men to schedule periodic auto maintenance
cancer awareness. September is Prostate service that includes changing the oil and
Cancer Awareness Month but receives little obtaining a multi-point vehicle inspection
exposure as compared to October (Breast report. This service is attractive not because
Cancer Awareness Month). Surprisingly, the car is "sick," but they understand that
twice the amount of money is spent on preventive maintenance is cost effective
breast cancer research than spent on prostate and enhances the longevity of the vehicle.
cancer research. There is a great need for Unfortunately, the same logic is not used
advocacy, funding and support for men.
with their health. Thus, men don't live as
long as females and their quality of life
Today, there is
during retirement years is plagued with
all kinds of health issues.
confusion with

prostate cancer
screening in
the community
and amongst
clinicians about
prostate health.
In truth, targeted
screening based
on age, family
history, race
and genomics
can change the
outcomes for men
diagnosed with
prostate cancer.

Much of the work has already been
Act 66 of 2015 established the Prostate Cancer Task Force1 to address the
complicated issues and challenges that
Pennsylvania faces in addressing prostate
cancer, the most commonly diagnosed
cancer for men. One in nine men will be
diagnosed with prostate cancer during their
lifetime. Black men are 2.2 times more
likely to die of prostate cancer in comparison
to their white counterparts. Prostate cancer
survivors face physical, psychosocial and
economic issues that may last a lifetime.

A lack of consensus regarding prostate
cancer screening guidelines has created
confusion among the public and the medical
community over who should be screened
and at what age. Physicians predict future
data will show increases in later stage cancer
being detected as a result. Unless prostate
cancer becomes a public policy priority,
Pennsylvania may see an increasing trend
in late-stage diagnoses, increasing mortality,
and lower quality of life among survivors. A
decrease in PSA screening and an uptick in
Encouraging men to see their physician advanced prostate cancer stage at diagnosis
when they are not sick is a hard sell. Our for high risk populations (younger black
health care system (fee for service) is really and Hispanic men) has been observed
a sick care system which is driven by reim- in the Philadelphia area in recent years.
bursing health professionals for diagnosis (Zeigler-Johnson, et al. "Racial and Ethnic
and treatment. Health prevention is the Trends in Prostate Cancer Incidence and
answer, however, there are few incentives Mortality in Philadelphia, PA: An Observa(especially money) to reward the health tional Study." Journal of Racial and Ethnic
professional for quality instead of quantity! Health Disparities, 2019; 6 (2): 371-379.)
We need to change the current sick care
paradigm to a truly health care model.
To fulfill requirements of Act 66 of 2015,
the task force report of recommendations
To assist men in making better health for improving the prostate health of Penndecisions for themselves, a "Man Up": A sylvania men was developed and sent to
Men's Health Initiative should be initiated the Secretary of Health and the General
during the 2019-2020 Pennsylvania Leg- Assembly. To advance these recommendaislative Sessions.
tions, a Prostate Health Workgroup has
been created as a forum for action.
Continued on page 12

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