NIH Press Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Cancer Institute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 1997

John Campbell
US TOO
(202) 363-2069

NCI Press Office
(301) 496-6641

The National Cancer Institute and US TOO Join Forces
to Reach Men About Prostate Cancer

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the lead Federal government agency for cancer research, and US TOO International, the largest men's cancer organization worldwide, today announced a new partnership to educate men ages 50 and older, and those 40 and over who are at high-risk for prostate cancer, about the detection, diagnosis, and management of the disease.

The two organizations are preparing to launch a joint educational initiative called, "Know Your Options: The National Prostate Cancer Education Program." The initiative will include conducting multi-city prostate cancer symposia for both professional and lay audiences, developing new decision-making tools such as interactive software, and enhancing the US TOO website to help men sort through the complexities of prostate cancer management. NCI will provide the latest scientific information available, and US TOO will take the lead in getting the information to men and their families.

"This partnership will enable US TOO to carry sound, accurate messages to men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer and to those men who are acting on their risk for the disease," said Henry Porterfield, US TOO's chair and chief executive officer. "We intend to build on this partnership by embarking on initiatives with the corporate sector and nonprofit community to ensure that this program has the broadest reach possible."

Prostate cancer, aside from skin cancer, is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and second leading cause of cancer death in U.S. men. In 1996, there was an estimated 317,000 new cases of prostate cancer, accounting for about 40 percent of all reported cancer cases in men. Between 1973 and 1993, the prostate cancer incidence rate grew by 175 percent, due partly to more widespread screening for the disease as well as to the growing number of older men in the U.S., but has recently begun to decline. Approximately 40,000 men die from the disease each year. Between 1991 and 1995 the mortality rate declined, but because the underlying causes of the rise and fall in prostate cancer mortality are largely unknown, it will be necessary to monitor the trend for a longer period to substantiate the recent decline.

"More and more men today are being screened for prostate cancer, and our concern is that they are unaware of their treatment options and the benefits and side effects associated with different treatments," said NCI Director Richard D. Klausner, M.D. "NCI is committed to partnering with US TOO so that all men diagnosed with prostate cancer have the information they need to make informed treatment decisions based on their age, health status, preferences and other personal factors."

Men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer have access to a number of different treatment options, depending on the stage of their disease at diagnosis and their age and general health. Yet available treatments are associated with varying side effects such as loss of sexual function (impotence) and loss of bladder control (incontinence). Many prostate cancers, however, are not life threatening and may not warrant treatment. Because there is currently no way to accurately predict which early stage prostate cancers will progress, uncertainties remain about which individuals would benefit from treatment.

Both NCI and US TOO offer services to assist people with questions about prostate cancer screening, detection, diagnosis and treatment. The Cancer Information Service (CIS) is NCI's nationwide telephone service and outreach program. The CIS meets the information needs of patients, the public, and health professionals. Specially trained staff provide the latest scientific information in understandable language. In addition, individual CIS offices serve specific geographic areas and have information about cancer-related services and resources in their region. The CIS, which can be reached at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237), responds to calls in English and Spanish. People with TTY equipment may call 1-800-332-8615.

As part of its ongoing mission to get all concerned men and their families to attend support groups, US TOO, which has 100,000 members in over 550 chapters, can provide information about chapter and group locations and other resources through its toll-free line at 1-800-80-USTOO (1-800-808-7866), or through its Internet website at http://www.ustoo.com.


Cancer Information Service
The Cancer Information Service (CIS) is NCI's nationwide telephone service and outreach program. The CIS meets the information needs of patients, the public, and health professionals. Specially trained staff provide the latest scientific information in understandable language. CIS staff answer questions in English and Spanish and distribute NCI materials.

Toll-free phone number: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
TTY: 1-800-332-8615

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