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Tennessee Governor Signs Landmark Cancer Prevention Bill Into Law

Governor Bill Lee has signed into law new legislation that will eliminate out-of-pocket costs for high-risk men being screened for prostate cancer and other cancer screenings in Tennessee. Out-of-pocket costs pose barriers to prostate cancer detection and treatment, disproportionately impacting lower-income individuals, people of color, and those with limited healthcare access. These financial burdens exacerbate health disparities and increase risks for vulnerable populations. 

More than 299,000 new prostate cancer diagnoses are expected in 2024. Black men are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed and die from this disease. Early detection continues to be the most effective means of saving lives from prostate cancer. Understanding that men’s lives are at stake, ZERO Prostate Cancer, the leading national prostate cancer nonprofit, spearheaded the advocacy efforts for HB 2954. In partnership with FORCE, the American Cancer Society, and the American Urological Association, as well as the American Association of Clinical Urologists, Cancer and Careers, the Large Urology Group Practice Association, the Men’s Health Network, the National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Simon Foundation for Continence, and the Triage Cancer, ZERO built a coalition to prioritize the importance of removing barriers to cancer screening

“Countless men face barriers to prostate cancer screening each year, increasing their risk for diagnosis with advanced disease, and that’s simply unacceptable,” said Courtney Bugler, President and CEO of ZERO Prostate Cancer. “Thank you, Governor Lee and the Tennessee legislature, for making this bold move. Tennessee is a role model for other states to prioritize men’s lives and ensure fair and equitable access to high-quality prostate cancer care for all.”

This groundbreaking legislation was authored by Representative G.A. Hardaway (D) and Senator Sara Kyle (D) and championed by 44 sponsors, including prostate cancer survivors Rep. Sam Whitson (R) and Sen. Ken Yager (R), as well as Sen. Becky Massey (R), whose father died from the disease. Tennessee bears one of the highest cancer burdens in the U.S. It’s ranked 19th nationally for prostate cancer incidence and 30th for prostate cancer deaths. More than 6,000 new cases of prostate cancer are expected to be diagnosed in Tennessee in 2024.

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“The significance of HB 2954 is that we will save thousands of lives every year just by getting the financial barriers out of the way so that men are able to get tested in time to still be around to be fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins, and to participate in family events,” said Rep. G.A Hardaway.

Upon receiving Governor Lee’s signature, the bill joins similar state legislative initiatives in Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island, reinforcing the importance of accessible preventive care in combating prostate cancer.
At the federal level, ZERO Prostate Cancer is leading the advocacy effort behind the PSA Screening for High-risk Insured Men Act, also known as PSA for HIM. Introduced by Representatives Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), this legislation would require health insurance providers to offer PSA screenings without any cost-sharing requirements (copays, deductibles, or coinsurance) for African-American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer between the ages of 55 and 69. There is also a Senate version of the bill, S.2821 by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and John Boozman (R-AR).

For more information on HB 2954 and advocacy efforts related to cancer prevention in Tennessee, visit ZERO’s website at

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