The U.S. Defense Department’s Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP) will receive $90 million after last week’s Senate passage of the 2017 Defense Appropriations Bill. The $10 million funding boost represents a major achievement for activists including ZERO, an advocacy group committed to ending prostate cancer.
Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races and particularly among Hispanics.
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia), Rep. Peter King (R-New York), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) led efforts to preserve funding for PCRP, obtaining signatures from over 100 House and Senate members on letters to the appropriations committee.
“The funding increase means many new prostate cancer research projects this year focused on new treatments, and improving diagnosis methods,” Jamie Bearse, CEO of ZERO: The End of Prostate Cancer, said in a press release. “The men and families fighting prostate cancer that storm Capitol Hill each year are an inspiration, and their efforts save the lives of countless others while curbing pain and suffering.”
The Pentagon’s medical research programs hosts patients as part of a peer-review model. Its projects have led to three new treatments for prostate cancer and a genetic diagnosis profile to determine aggressive disease. Besides the $10 million increase for PCRP, the bill will fund projects for the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute, as well as for 21st Century Cures to support the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
It also maintains prostate cancer research program funding for the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control’s Cancer Control, with a focus on prevention and early identification of men with prostate cancer.
In March, more than 120 advocates gathered at the 2017 Prostate Cancer Summit in Washington to demand policies to end prostate cancer. This year, advocates had the opportunity to talk with elected officials about increasing prostate cancer research funds for the fiscal 2018 budget.
Besides remaining active in their communities, ZERO advocates are also online through the organization’s #CountMeIn campaign, an effort to keep the drive going for research funding and other issues of interest to the prostate cancer community. The nonprofit group, based in Alexandria, Virginia, says it dedicates 94 cents of every dollar raised to research and programs.