Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ) and Congressman John Carney (D-DE) may be in different political parties, but they both agree on the importance of men's health and are co-chairing the newly reauthorized Congressional Men's Health Caucus (MHC).
"I am thrilled to be able to once again co-chair the Men's Health Caucus," said Runyan. "Prior to serving in Congress I spent much of my time raising funds for important men's health causes, including prostate cancer. This Caucus is a natural extension of my private work and I look forward to leading it once again in the 113th Congress."
In an effort to bring attention to health issues that adversely affect males, the MHC is dedicated to raising awareness and promoting legislation that will improve the health and well-being of American men, boys, and their families. The Caucus will work closely with Men's Health Network (MHN), a nationally-recognized non-profit, to raise Congress' commitment to research into men's health areas and work to ensure that health issues that affect men and boys have a place in our Federal government's healthcare priorities.
"I'm proud to join Congressman Runyan as co-chair of the Men's Health Caucus" said Carney. "As a member of Delaware's Cancer Consortium, I led a campaign to encourage at-risk individuals to get screened for colorectal cancer. Through that work, Delaware made unprecedented progress in closing the gap between white men and African American men for colorectal screening, incidence and mortality. Early detection and prevention are key to improving health outcomes and keeping healthcare costs down. That's the kind of important work I plan to continue on the Men's Health Caucus."
One of the Caucus' first orders of business was to establish a Prostate Cancer Task Force, which is tasked with increasing the public's awareness of prostate cancer--the most prevalent form of cancer in men. The Task Force will also highlight three groups that have especially high risk of developing prostate cancer: African Americans, Veterans exposed to Agent Orange, and individuals with a family history of the disease.
"I'm living proof that regular check-ups are the best form of preventive care when it
comes to prostate cancer," said Congressman John Barrow (D-GA), co-chair of the Prostate Cancer Task Force. "It wasn't too long ago that I went in for a routine visit, and was diagnosed with an early form of prostate cancer. Raising awareness about this issue so that others can benefit from early detection is key. I'm honored to join this task force and look forward to working with them in the future."
The MHC hopes to also reach military veterans. Seventy to 80 percent of veterans don't use the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for their health care, and many suffer from physical or mental conditions related to their military service.
"We are pleased that Congressmen Runyan and Carney have taken the lead in establishing the Congressional Men's Health Caucus for the 113th Congress," said Brandon Leonard, MHN Program Manager. "The Caucus, along with the Prostate Cancer Task Force led by Congressmen Runyan and Barrow - will be key resources in educating Congress and the public about health issues that affect men, boys, and their families."
In the last Congress, the Men's Health Caucus, working with Men's Health Network, organized a briefing on the controversy around prostate cancer screenings, and led an educational briefing on Emerging Research in Head Injuries, giving both a military and an athlete perspective on traumatic brain injuries.