Prostate Cancer Task Force recommends changes to how PA thinks about Prostate Cancer

In 2015, we worked with Sen. Bob Mensch, sponsor of SB 609, to navigate the PA Senate and PA House to pass a bill that creates a Prostate Cancer Task Force (PCTF) to study the gaps and needs in prostate cancer health literacy, screening, and treatment. We’re proud to tell you that in a year where virtually no legislation moved in PA, SB 609 was signed into Act 66 of 2015 on November 24, 2015!

The PA Prostate Cancer Coalition has been working closely with the PA Department of Health to assist in facilitating appointments to the PCTF. The Act describes the make-up of the 15 members task force, including the need to have two urologists, two oncologists, an epidemiologist, two representatives of prostate cancer patient groups, a prostate cancer patient or caregiver, and two registered nurses (including one nurse practitioner).

According to the act, the task force shall investigate and make recommendations to the department regarding:

(1)  The prevalence of and measures available to detect, diagnose and treat prostate cancer and related chronic prostate conditions in this Commonwealth.

(2)  Raising awareness about the long-term effects caused by a lack of public policy and education about prostate cancer risk factors and screening guidelines.

(3)  Development of a program of information and education regarding prostate cancer which shall include a uniform set of screening guidelines and the broad spectrum of scientific and treatment options regarding all stages of prostate cancer and related chronic prostate conditions.

(4)  Development of a program to assist male residents in accessing prostate cancer screening, regardless of insurance coverage.

(5)  Cooperation with the Insurance Department, the Department of Aging and the Department of Human Services to disseminate the information required under paragraph (3) to the general public.

The PCTF met throughout 2016, and the PA Prostate Cancer Coalition had two board members serving on the task force as patient advocates. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of such a groundbreaking policy team, and hope to continue working with our Task Force peers and policymakers to implement the Task Force’s report recommendations.

The Prostate Cancer Task Force Report was given to the Governor and General Assembly in February of 2017.  Click here to read the report.


As announced on January 13, 2016, here are the Prostate Cancer Task Force members:

  • Secretary of Health Karen Murphy
  • Secretary of State Pedro Cortez
  • Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne
  • Secretary of Human Services Ted Dallas
  • Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller
  • Angelo Baccala (MD) from Lehigh Valley Health Network
  • Benjamin Davies (MD) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Eric Horitz (MD) from Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Christopher Peters (MD) from Regional Hospital of Scranton Geisinger Community Med. Ctr. Northeast Regional Cancer Institute
  • Theda Shaw (RN,MSN) from Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute
  • Linda Jacobs (PhD, CRNP) from Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania
  • Charnita Ziegler-Johnson (PhD, MPH) at Thomas Jefferson University
  • James Williams (COL, Ret.) from the PA Prostate Coalition
  • Jerry Bortman who is a Prostate Cancer survovior and serves on the Allegheny County Health Department’s Mens Health Outreach Committee
  • Alan Schein (MD) from Schein Ernst Eye Associates who is a family member of a prostate cancer patient