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National Cancer Institute to support statewide UNC-CH colon cancer study

f both men and women, some of whom already have had colon cancer and some of whom have not," she said.

DeVellis, a psychologist, will help develop telephone counseling and printed materials such as personalized newsletters. Stearns, an economist, will determine the cost effectiveness of telephone counseling versus printed materials.

Murray will serve as biostatistician. Switzer will study "biomarkers" - elements in blood that should reveal whether people have switched to diets containing more fruits and vegetables that are less conducive to colon cancer.

Earlier studies have shown that U.S. residents whose diets are high in fruits and vegetables may face only half the risk of colon cancer as others whose diets are low in those foods, Campbell said. Diets high in fat and those that include a lot of meat -- especially grilled meats - appear to boost the risk of colon cancer, research indicates.

Many volunteers for Sandler's study already have shown interest participating in the new work as well, Campbell said. They will be randomly assigned to four groups getting both telephone counseling and personalized newsletters about colon cancer, either one or the other or neither.

Toward the end of the study, investigators will re-interview all 800 participants and take a blood sample from half of them to determine whether they've altered their diets and how effective researchers' efforts have been, she said. If the work goes well, the National Cancer Institute might adopt comparable educational programs on a far larger scale.

"Others have calculated that with screening, treatment and lifestyle changes, 80 percent to 90 percent of colon cancer deaths could be avoided," Campbell said. "That's a lot of people because colon cancer is, overall, the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Americans."


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Contact: David Williamson
David_Williamson@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
11-Aug-1999


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