Policy Advocacy

BCAN is the leading voice for patients and families facing bladder cancer. BCAN’s policy advocacy actions work to advance bladder cancer research and improve access to bladder cancer treatment.

Through strategic planning, consistent lobbying presence, and community engagement, BCAN seeks to advance legislative, executive, and regulatory changes that improve the quality of life of bladder cancer patients and survivors.

BCAN’s Policy Advocacy Priorities

  • The PACT Act

    Ensure veterans and service members with bladder cancer receive timely access to health care and benefits.

    The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, or PACT Act, is a law that expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. This legislation expands the presumptive list, removing the need for eligible veterans to prove service connection if they suffer from any of the health conditions specified on the list. While the presumptive list for burn pit exposure includes several forms of cancer, it does not list bladder cancer. The omission of bladder cancers as a presumptive condition for burn pit exposure is placing a significant toll on the mental, physical, and financial well-being of veterans suffering from bladder cancer, and restricting access to quality and timely care.

    BCAN will take action to help policymakers understand the connection between exposure to burn pits and bladder cancer; and have bladder cancer added as a presumptive illness in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.

    Our PACT Act Accomplishments:

    • Met with Congressional offices and staff from the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs creating awareness that bladder cancer was not in the PACT ACT 2022 and received information to help navigate the presumptions for the service-connection review process.
    • Surveyed the BCAN community of patients and survivors to identify veterans diagnosed with bladder cancer. If you’re a veteran and have bladder cancer, tell us your story.
    • Reached out to veteran organizations to form a working coalition.
    • With the guidance of our clinical and research community, a repository of scientific literature was created and evidence was identified to substantiate the positive association between bladder cancer and burn pit exposure.
    • On February 26, 2024, BCAN was notified that the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough, directed a formal evaluation of urinary bladder and ureteral cancers. In response, BCAN, in collaboration with select members of our Scientific Advisory Board and affiliated experts, is serving as a scientific reference for the VA as it reviews scientific data to determine whether the evidence supports the addition of bladder as a presumptive condition for those veterans exposed to burn pits.
  • Oncology Medication Shortages

    Address the Critical Need for BCG and Oncology Drugs

    Medication shortages place an immense burden on patients and healthcare systems alike, impacting treatment decisions, patient outcomes, quality of life, and participation in clinical trials. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), a cornerstone in the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer, has faced severe scarcity in the United States due to various factors, including increased usage, production and shipping difficulties, regulatory burdens, and capacity shutdowns.  The medication shortage has extended to other crucial cancer drugs like cisplatin and carboplatin, which are also used to treat bladder cancer.

    BCAN will monitor and address the supply and availability of BCG and oncology drugs at both the Federal and State levels as necessary.

  • Federal Funding for Bladder Cancer Research

    Establish a permanent funding line within the CDMRP for bladder cancer.

    The Department of Defense (DoD) funds over $1.4 billion in medical research through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP).  Since 2016, BCAN has been proud to work with the CDMRP to establish bladder cancer as a fundable disease within the program. As a direct result of these actions, our community has seen over $20M in new federal bladder cancer research since we first became eligible for the program.

    BCAN will work with other organizations to ensure a permanent funding line within the CDMRP for bladder cancer.

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BCAN Comments, Statements and Sign-On Letters

BCAN signs on to or sends letters to Congress and federal agencies to support our policy advocacy goals and those of our constituents.