As we all have probably have heard Senator Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut announced that he had prostate cancer. According to his announcement he had a biopsy as a result of a blood test. We can only assume that the test referred to was a PSA test. The announcement also indicated that the cancer was in the early stages.

Mr. Dodd is Acting Chairman (Standing in for Senator Kennedy who is fighting his own battle with Brain Cancer) to of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. This is the committee that has been charged with spearheading Health Care Reform in the Senate.

The direction that the reform has been moving will call into serious question a men’s future ability of having PSA tests for diagnostic purposes cover by insurance. The reform will probably over rule those states that do have mandates that require private insurers to cover the costs of the PSA test leaving men uncovered even in these states.

I am happy to say that according to the announcement from Mr. Dodd’s office his cancer is in the “early stages.” This can only mean that the PSA test he took was for general screening, which would not be covered in the future if the reform continues to move in this direction.

I must wonder how the good senator would rationalize his use of PSA tests considering the direction of his committee’s work. Hopefully someone who has access to Mr. Dodd will point this out to him.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW