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Dunn introduces bill to help VA tackle prostate cancer

Special to The Star

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Neal Dunn, M.D. (FL-02) last week introduced the Veterans Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act (H.R. 6092). Prostate cancer is the number one cancer diagnosed in the Veterans Health Administration with over 489,000 veterans undergoing treatment. This bill will direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to 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.

“After everything our veterans experience while serving, the last thing they should be faced with is yet another enemy – prostate cancer,” Dunn said. “The key to overcoming prostate cancer is early detection. Veterans deserve a system that streamlines the pathway from early detection to successful treatment. This bill is a solid first-step forward to save fellow veterans lives and defeat this deadly adversary.”

Congressman Joe Cunningham (SC-01) is the lead Democrat cosponsor of the legislation along with Dr. Dunn.

“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,” 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.

“The AUA is proud to support this important piece of legislation, which we believe will standardize treatment options and result in improved outcomes for prostate cancer patients. The VHA – as a national system for healthcare delivery – is perfectly positioned to create this program,” said AUA President Dr. John H. Lynch. “We’d like to thank Dr. Dunn and Rep. Cunningham for introducing this very important bill to help understand how we can define and deliver optimal care for men with prostate cancer.”

“ZERO - The End of Prostate Cancer — the nation’s leading nonprofit in the fight to end this awful disease — is grateful to U.S. Reps. Dunn and Cunningham for prioritizing the care of veterans with prostate cancer,” said Jamie Bearse, ZERO's CEO and President. “The Prostate Cancer Treatment and Research Act of 2020 creates an opportunity for the VA to become a leader by establishing clinical pathways and a patient registry which have great potential to make significant headway in treating the nearly 500,000 veterans with prostate cancer, enabling each of them to have healthy lives with their beloved families.”

Dunn is currently serving on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and is the Ranking Member for the Subcommittee on Health. He has used his medical experience and what he learned while in the Army to better serve veterans not only in Florida-2, but all over the country.