Us TOO Advocacy Alert  

March 23, 2009 

From: Thomas Kirk, President and CEO

Subject: Us TOO and 13 of America’s prostate cancer organizations issue reaction to the PSA screening studies

You may have noticed last week stories about prostate cancer were taking front and center as Don Imus talked openly about his recent prostate cancer diagnosis and word began to surface that several research articles (and an editorial) were to appear in the March 26th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. We received our copy in the Us TOO office today.

Some of you may have had opportunity to dial into the NCI teleconference held last week Wednesday the 18th for advocates to discuss the US major screening trial. It was a very helpful and informative discussion, and at least two Us TOO volunteers asked useful questions. Thanks to Jack David Marcus from New York and Jerry Hardy from the Detroit area for their questions.

For those who missed this call, a reply is available toll-free at 1-800-297-0769 until April 18th. For more information on the PLCO trial results, visit the National Cancer Institute’s website.

Please also take a moment to watch each of two short videos from Dr. Gerald Chodak explaining the screening study results:

Screening for Prostate Cancer: Results of U.S. Clinical Trial
Prostate Cancer Screening: European Study Results

Appearing below is a joint statement issued today by Us TOO International and 13 of America’s leading prostate cancer organizations. Click here for a printable version of the press release. This is great progress from my viewpoint and reflects a commitment to joint action.

Note the statement reaffirms the priority for Congress to support research at the DOD for prostate cancer. Please take action by clicking here and let your Congressman know your thoughts… we need to be heard!

National News Release

 

A JOINT STATEMENT FROM AMERICA'S PROSTATE CANCER ADVOCACY, EDUCATION, AND SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS

 

WASHINGTON DC, March 23, 2009 – Since 1993, when the PLCO trial was started, we have awaited the results of this trial with eager anticipation, as have others. The initial report of the results of this study -- and those of a comparable European trial -- published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine have told us two things:

  •  The studies offer conflicting evidence about the possibility of a prostate cancer-specific survival benefit associated with the regular use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing and digital rectal examination (DRE).

  • These studies provide no convincing evidence that mass screening of men over 50 or 55 years of age will lead to a prostate cancer-specific survival benefit within 10 years.

We have come together to make two clear statements about these trials:

  • Above all we thank the patients, the investigators, and the national authorities that funded these two trials for their efforts. The development and implementation of these trials over the past 16 years has been an enormous commitment by all concerned.

  • We enthusiastically support the continued follow-up of patients in the prostate cancer arm of the PLCO study for at least a further 5 years, through 2014, as originally envisaged.

  • In addition, in the long-term interests of the health of every man in the USA, and with health reform recognized as a national priority, we wish to state the following:

  • Every man, regardless of his age, has the right to know whether he is at risk from prostate cancer, a disease that still kills over 28,600 American men every year, and many more around the world. We encourage all men to be proactive, and to seek out information and support in regard to their health. 

  • We shall continue to encourage every man to discuss his individual risk for prostate cancer with his doctors, and to request the appropriate use of PSA and DRE tests until better options are available. Further clinical action based on results of these tests is also a matter for serious discussion between each patient and his physicians.

  • We call upon the federal government to emphasize the need for more research into early detection technologies and methods that will lead to better and more accurate diagnosis of prostate cancer.

  • We call upon Congress to increase funding for the Prostate Cancer Research Program at the Department of Defense.

  • We call upon the National Institutes of Health to increase funding for prostate cancer research through the National Cancer Institute.

  • We call upon the medical research community to place greater emphasis on the development of new clinical tests that can differentiate between those men at greatest need for aggressive prostate cancer treatment and those with indolent forms of the disease who can be well managed without invasive treatment.

This statement is approved by the following US-based prostate cancer advocacy, education, and support organizations:

Prostate Cancer Roundtable website: www.ProstateCancerRoundtable.net

 
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