M. D. Anderson, African-American churches team up for prostate cancer prevention study

November 14, 2003

HOUSTON - The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center is teaming with more than 40 Houston-area African-American churches to encourage men in their congregations to participate in a prostate cancer prevention study, the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).

SELECT Sunday - a nationwide effort to increase the number of African-American men enrolled in SELECT - will be launched Sunday, Nov. 16, during morning church services throughout the nation, including more than 40 participating churches in the Houston area.

Elise D. Cook, M.D., M. D. Anderson's SELECT principal investigator, is national chair of the SELECT Minority and Medically Underserved Committee, which conceived the idea of a nationwide SELECT Sunday.

During SELECT Sunday, pastors will speak briefly from their pulpits about SELECT. This event includes distribution of study information in the churches through flyers, revival fans, bulletin announcements, bulletin boards and church Web sites.

SELECT, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Southwest Oncology Group (an NCI-supported national research group), is designed to determine whether selenium and vitamin E, or both, can prevent prostate cancer, the third leading cancer killer in men.

Increasing enrollment of African-American men is important because they are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and are twice as likely to die from the disease than men of any other racial or ethnic background.

"SELECT Sunday was developed to increase enrollment of African-American men because the study is below its national target of 20 percent enrollment for this racial group," Cook says. "For this reason, we are placing a strong emphasis on recruiting African-American men." At 27 percent African-American enrollment, M. D. Anderson has exceeded its 20 percent African-American enrollment goal, and is participating in SELECT Sunday to support reaching the national goal.

M. D. Anderson is one of more than 400 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico recruiting 32,400 volunteers to SELECT, the largest cancer prevention study ever conducted. M. D. Anderson has enrolled more than 280 men during the first two years of a five-year recruitment period.

Prospective SELECT participants must be healthy males who are at least 55 years old - 50 if African-American - and never diagnosed with prostate cancer. Study volunteers will come to M. D. Anderson for follow-up examinations every six months and will be recommended to have an annual digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen test.

Participants take vitamin supplements and/or placebos daily for seven to 12 years, returning every six months for follow-up visits.

"We don't have all the answers now, but previous research has shown that these two minerals may provide some protection against prostate cancer," Cook says.

Despite progress in the early detection and treatment of the disease, about 220,900 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during 2003, according to the American Cancer Society. About 28,900 men are expected to die from the disease this year.
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For more information about SELECT, visit the Web site: http://www.mdanderson.org/select. Men interested in joining the study can call the "SELECT line" at M. D. Anderson at 713-794-4400. Additional information is available from the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER. Both numbers offer information in English and Spanish.

University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

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