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Elderly cancer patients are significantly under-represented in cancer clinical trials

a "patient navigator program" a grass roots effort involving both researchers and members of the community that will provide culturally appropriate education to the community on cancer prevention, screening, and treatment; facilitate participation in the project's clinical trials and community survey; and assist Native American cancer patients in utilizing the health care system.

Finally, the project will offer a genetic test to determine whether Native Americans carry a gene that may cause them to experience more severe side effects from radiation. A particular DNA repair gene will be investigated.

"Traditionally, Native Americans have been less likely to benefit from the progress being made in cancer research because of a multitude of barriers," said Daniel Petereit, MD, principal investigator for the project and radiation oncologist at the John T. Vucurevich Cancer Care Institute in Rapid City, South Dakota. "To address these barriers, we are working closely with Sioux Nation to develop innovative approaches that will ensure Native Americans have equal access to the best possible care."

In addition, researchers noted that they hope findings from the Native American project can serve as a model for improving access to clinical trials and quality cancer care among the many underserved populations in the United States.


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Contact: Danielle Potuto
potutod@asco.org
703-519-1422
American Society of Clinical Oncology
12-Nov-2004


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