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Participants sought for cancer research

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital is looking for a few good middle-aged men.

The hospital was recently tabbed as one of 400 hospitals in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to participate in the first-ever long-term project to study the effects of selenium and vitamin E on preventing prostate cancer.

The free project is open to men 55 and older, and to African-American men over 50.



Participants must be willing to take vitamin E, selenium and multivitamin supplements, and submit to a yearly prostate screening.

During the trial, each of the 100 participants will be given two bottles of either selenium, vitamin E or a placebo every six months, as well as a bottle of multivitamins in a double-blind test.




Participants only have to avoid eating Brazil nuts, which are high in selenium, said Jim Perkins, the hospital1s oncology coordinator.

3The only commitment is to be able to take a daily supplement,² he said.

SNMH will be reimbursed by the National Cancer Institute and the Southwest Oncology Group for its work in the study. Vitamins will be supplied by four pharmaceutical companies.

The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial will eventually include 32,400 men in a seven- to 12-year study.

3There1s a growing awareness of prostate cancer, and my sense is more and more men are starting to get check-ups,² said Perkins.

There were 31,500 deaths attributed to prostate cancer in 2001, and 200,000 newly detected cases, said Julie Ann Garrett, a registered nurse and the hospital1s clinical trials coordinator.

Detected early, those with prostate cancer have a better than 90 percent chance of survival.

3Getting men screened before they show signs is very important,² Perkins said.

According to the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, selenium and vitamin E have proven effective in fighting prostate cancer in two different studies targeting skin and lung cancer.

Both selenium and vitamin E are antioxidants capable of neutralizing toxins known as 3free radicals² that may damage the genetic material of cells and possibly lead to cancer, according to the NIH and the NCI.

The Sierra Nevada Cancer Center estimates that there will be 20,500 new prostate cancer cases in California in 2002, and that 3,080 will die from the disease.

Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer among men and is the second-leading type of cancer death, exceeded only by lung cancer, according to cancer center statistics.

3Participants in this study will have the opportunity to participate in research that could significantly reduce the effects of prostate cancer. This will be the best science done to date, to determine if this is a viable way to combat prostate cancer,² Perkins said.

Participants need not have insurance for the program, and they can move as long as they1re willing to get their treatments locally.

3I have people stopping me saying, OWhen can my husband sign up?1² Garrett said.

To become part of the prostate cancer research study, call 274-6635.


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