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TOPICS / HEALTH : Hospitals Join Prostate Cancer Study

March 31, 1994

Three local hospitals are working on a prostate cancer prevention trial with the National Cancer Institute.

The seven-year study of 18,000 volunteers nationwide will involve Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia and St. Luke Medical Center in Pasadena.

The study will test the effectiveness of the drug finasteride in the prevention of prostate cancer. It is a double-blind trial, which means that neither the men participating nor the study physicians will be told who is taking the drug and who is taking a placebo.

During the study, test hospitals will provide pills, and an annual exam and blood test. Between visits, hospital staff will check on participants by telephone. In seven years, participants will undergo a prostate gland biopsy.

Eligible volunteers should be at least 55 years old, in good health, cancer-free in the past five years and free of chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Also, participants must have a normal rectal exam and test negative for prostate cancer. Special efforts are being made to recruit African American men because they have a higher rate of prostate cancer.

One out of seven men older than 55 will be found to have prostate cancer. It is the second most common form of cancer--after lung cancer--among men in the United States.

Information: (818) 397-5287.

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