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Clinical Trials: Questions and Answers

Clinical trials are a critical part of the research process. Clinical trials help to move basic scientific research from the laboratory into treatments for people. By evaluating the results of these trials, we can find better treatments and ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer. But very few adults with cancer - only 3 percent - participate in clinical trials. We need to test the best cancer prevention, detection, and treatment ideas in the shortest time possible, and this can only happen if more people participate in clinical trials.

We know that most people understand very little about clinical trials. National Cancer Institute (NCI) research has shown that the general public is either unaware of clinical trials as a treatment/ prevention option or misinformed about the clinical trial process. The reasons for this lack of understanding are complex, and there is no simple solution. Whether you are a cancer survivor, someone who works with people with cancer, or someone who is touched by cancer in another way – a fact sheet exists to help answer your questions about clinical trials. With this information, you can help people in your community make informed decisions about their cancer treatment and prevention options, including the option of participating in a clinical trial.

Featured Trials – STAR, SELECT

SELECT Trial (

SELECT (the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial is the largest-ever prostate cancer prevention trial. Coordinated by a network of researchers called the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), the study is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Previous studies suggest that selenium and vitamin E (alone or in combination) may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by 60 percent and 30 percent, respectively, but only a large clinical trial such as SELECT can confirm those initial findings.

The study is open to men 55 and older. African-American men, 50 and over, are eligible to enroll because prostate cancer strikes African-American men earlier and more often than white men.

To get more information about SELECT or to locate a participating center:

Call 1-800-4-CANCER in the United States and Puerto Rico or 188-939-3333 in Canada

In San Mateo County, contact
Amelia D. Villena MD, Stanford University, Department of Urology, (650) 736-0697
Archana Banerjee, VA Medical Center, Palo Alto, (650) 493-5000

STAR Trial (

The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, or STAR trial, one of the largest breast cancer prevention studies ever, is now recruiting volunteers at centers across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The trial will include 22,000 postmenopausal women at increased risk of breast cancer to determine whether the osteoporosis prevention drug raloxifene (Evista®) is as effective in reducing the chance of developing breast cancer as tamoxifen (Nolvadex®).

For more information about STAR and a list of participating centers:

In the United States (including Puerto Rico), call the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) for information in English or Spanish. The number for callers with TTY equipment is 1-800-332-8615.
In San Mateo County, contact:
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, 650-724-3178
Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Palo Alto, CA, 800-524-7475


The Clinical Trial Education Series

The National Cancer Instituteís Clinical Trials Education Series was created to meet the information needs of cancer patients, their families and health care professionals, so that informed decisions about cancer treatment and prevention options can be made.  The Clinical Trial Education Series consists of more than 13 different educational materials (books, booklets, slides and videos) that may be used individually or in combination. 

Here's info about the African American Tobacco Education Network, part of the California Black Health Network (a statewide agency).  They too provide mini grants, and provide a good entree for AACHA into tobacco education/awareness, and possibly a small grant for Soul Stroll 2003. They have an office in Sacramento and San Diego.
Visit: or call (888) 72-AATEN (22836).

NCI Cancer Facts

The NCI Cancer Facts are a collection of fact sheets that address a variety of cancer topics. Fact sheets are frequently updated and revised based on the latest cancer research. Fact sheets may be viewed in HTML or PDF. Visit:



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