Canadian Cancer Society's CEO Speaks at Prostate Cancer Research Conference

    TORONTO, Sept. 29 /CNW/ - A major challenge facing prostate cancer
patients today is deciding if immediate treatment is necessary, said Dr.
Barbara Whylie, Canadian Cancer Society CEO at a prostate cancer research
conference in Toronto.
    "Because side effects from surgery or radiation can be severe, sometimes
the option of a treatment approach, called active surveillance, needs to be
seriously considered for some men," said Whylie. "Unfortunately, currently
there is no strong scientific evidence to guide patients or their healthcare
providers on which approach is best."
    Whylie added that the Society was pleased to recently announce the launch
of an important clinical trial that will help find answers about this
difficult aspect of prostate cancer treatment.
    The START trial (Surveillance Therapy Against Radical Treatment) will
compare standard treatment for prostate cancer - either surgery or radiation -
to active surveillance. It will enroll and follow more than 2,000
newly-diagnosed patients with low-risk prostate cancer (the cancer is
localized and doesn't appear to be clinically aggressive) in Canada, the U.S.,
England and Europe. Half of the patients will be randomly selected for
treatment and the other half will be selected to be closely monitored during
regular physician visits. Active surveillance is a treatment strategy whereby
a patient does not receive therapy right away but is monitored regularly to
track the progress of the condition and offered treatment if warranted.
    "A cancer diagnosis is a life changing event for both the man and his
family," said Whylie. "Our hope is that this research will provide information
so that some men can avoid unnecessary treatment."
    Whylie told the audience that more men are surviving prostate cancer.
"More than 122,000 men living in Canada have been diagnosed with prostate
cancer in the past 15 years. If death rates continue to drop, the number of
men living with prostate cancer will continue to increase. This is good news
but we must ensure we have the resources to provide the support these men
    Whylie also told the audience of prostate cancer survivors and 
researchers that:

      -  Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Canadian
         men. In 2007, it is estimated that more than 22,000 men will be
         diagnosed with prostate cancer in Canada and about 4,300 will die of

      -  The prostate cancer incidence rate has been gradually increasing
         since 1990. More research is needed to identify risk factors for
         prostate cancer.

      -  The prostate cancer death rate started to decline in the mid 1990s,
         with a significant decline of 2.7 per cent per year between 1994 and

    Whylie ended by saying that no one organization can beat cancer: "A
coordinated, systematic approach is needed where collaboration is the norm not
the exception. This type of approach will help find answers about prostate
cancer and the other 200 diseases also called cancer."

    The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization
whose mission is to eradicate cancer and improve the quality of life of people
living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website
at or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service
at 1 888 939-3333.

    The prostate cancer research conference was sponsored by the Canadian
Prostate Cancer Research Initiative in partnership with the Canadian Prostate
Cancer Network. The conference was building on the National Prostate Cancer
Forum held in 1997. It took place in Toronto from September 28 to 30.

For further information:

For further information: Alexa Giorgi, Bilingual Communications
Specialist, (416) 934-5681

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