UAB has successfully recruited more than 5,000 participants into a study of screening tests for four major cancers.

Posted on January 16, 2001 at 2:47 p.m.

BIRMINGHAM, AL — UAB has successfully recruited more than 5,000 participants into a study of screening tests for four major cancers. The largest clinical trial in UAB’s history will grow even larger with the announcement today that National Cancer Institute will fund an extension of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian (PLCO) study so an additional 1,000 African-Americans in Alabama may participate.

Dr. Mona Fouad, professor of preventive medicine and principal investigator of UAB’s PLCO study, said, “We are proud to have reached our goal of reaching 5,000 people in this landmark nationwide study of the efficacy of cancer screenings. To make sure the results will be applicable to all races, the federal government is asking us to recruit another 1,000 African-American participants into the study.”

The NCI awarded UAB approximately $12.8 million for the original study and is awarding Dr. Fouad an additional $2.2 million, primarily to recruit the additional participants. The funding covers the cost of providing the medical screenings.

The study seeks African-Americans aged 55-74 years old who are not currently being treated for any cancer and have never had the targeted four cancers, and are not taking the drug Proscar. Half the participants, selected at random, will have limited participation with no screening tests, while the other half will be more thoroughly examined with free blood tests, chest x-rays, sigmoidoscopy of the colon, and ultrasounds. Patients will be followed yearly for 14 years to determine whether the screening tests enhance length of life.

African-Americans may call 1-888-430-7526 for more information.

Dr. Alfred Adams, an African-American and UAB preventive medicine specialist, said, “The PLCO study is the largest undertaking of its kind in UAB history. We, along with federal health policymakers, want to make sure that the results of this test will allow recommendations to be made in regards to the health of all segments of American society. We know that African-Americans have a higher incidence of some cancers, such as prostate cancer, so it is very important that we be appropriately represented in this screening study.”

Rev. P. W. Jones, president of the Birmingham AME Ministerial Alliance and a PLCO study participant, said, “We as African-Americans need to get into this study so we will have a true idea of whether cancer screenings will help people of our race specifically.”

Adams said that of the approximately 5,000 participants in the UAB PLCO study, almost 20 percent were African-Americans. Nationwide, less than 10 percent of the 150,000 people enrolled in the PLCO study are African-Americans.