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Genetic Study Searches for Cause of Prostate Cancer

African American men die twice as fast from the disease as any other race of men. 

And now, researchers are looking at heredity as the primary cause within this male

population.  Having access to information and funding is critical in fighting this disease

because lives have been saved, when detected early.

          For this reason, the “Find the Cause” campaign was recently launched by the

National Physician and Family Referral Project or NPFR.  The organization provides

Independent recruitment services for national research.  It is a division of 50 Hoops

Tournaments and Health Fairs. 

Recent studies on prostate cancer done at the National Institute of Health (NIH)

indicate some men with prostate cancer may also have male relatives with this disease. In

a previous NIH study, 100 men participated. However, only two were African American. In

both cases, prostate  cancer was found in other family members.  The new study will allow

researchers to examine how the disease specifically affects African-American men. It is the

only genetic study of its type currently being done. 

        The disproportionate numbers of Black men who get prostate cancer has gained the

attention of African American leaders.  "I'm really concerned about prostate cancer. Too

many of us are not getting the message," said U.S. Rep. (Calif.)  Maxine Waters. "Our men

should start getting screenings by age 40. If not, some of them are going to die. My husband

gets his check up twice a year."

"It is extremely important that more African-American families with prostate cancer

be included in national studies so that we can find out if this disease does run in the family

of more African Americans," says Dr. Georgia Dunston, National Human Genome Center at

Howard University.

Founded in 1995, 50 Hoops provides education and access to free screening to

underserved populations through its partnerships with major cancer hospitals and

universities. Its name comes from the main event—men aged 50 + playing in half-court

basketball team competition.  Cities slated for the 2003 tournaments are Philadelphia,

St. Louis and Dallas.

          While breast cancer has attracted strong media coverage over the past few years,

prostate cancer has lacked the notoriety necessary to significantly increase awareness. In

support of NPFR’s grassroots and media outreach, public service announcements and news

programs run nationwide.

Famous men who have survived prostate cancer include former New York Mayor Rudolph

Giuliani, Harry Belafonte, D.C. Mayor Marion Berry, flutist and composer Herbie Mann,

singer Billy Davis (formerly of the Fifth Dimension), and L.A. Urban League President

John Mack.

If you are an African American survivor of prostate cancer, a relative of a survivor, or

 a physician treating prostate cancer patients, please call the toll-free hotline at (800) 677-8441

or visit the website at www.npfr.resourcez.com.