By: Theresa Morrow
Yesterday, March 4th, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hosted the first hearing on prostate cancer to take place in 11 years.
With two exceptional panels of experts, patients, spouses and advocates there was much discussion about the need for better early detection tests, more education and outreach to men, particularly in the African American community, and stressing the important role that women can play in the early detection of the disease.
The committee heard testimony about how men are reluctant to go to the doctor, get tested for prostate cancer, talk to the doctor about their health and/or their prostate, and the reluctance of their doctor to talk to them. The committee also heard testimony about how women encourage men to go to the doctor and get tested, make sure they ask the right questions, and are involved in the decision making process if a potential problems is found, and provide comfort and support to their loved one.
WAPC’s own Betty Gallo gave a moving testimony on how prostate cancer can have a devastating effect on entire families and her own experience with her husband, former Congressman Dean Gallo. The power of women’s voices and the need for women to be engaged in prostate cancer advocacy was a theme throughout the hearing.
Experts from advocacy organizations, the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program, and hospitals like Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Johns Hopkins stressed the need for more research and tools that can separate the “lion” or aggressive prostate cancers from the “kittens” or non-lethal forms of prostate cancer. Dr. James Mohler of Roswell Park Cancer Institute even recommended the need to develop a blood or urine test that could be combined with the PSA to indicate who may not need a prostate biopsy, so that men with a non-lethal, or autopsy-type prostate cancer can be spared from biopsy and the related anxiety.
CBS News recapped the hearing in this video:
A complete list of witnesses along with their testimony is available on the committee website.