Clinical trial Buddy Program among innovative support offerings from the Colon Cancer Alliance

(New York) -- (February 23, 2006) -- Colon cancer patients considering participation in a clinical trial can now access a first-of-its-kind peer-to-peer support system, the Buddy Program, the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) announced today. As a result of this innovation, an experienced mentor will provide guidance to newly diagnosed patients about how to prepare for clinical trials and understand the process. The announcement comes as the CCA marks the seventh Annual National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.

Although more Americans have become aware of colon cancer in recent years, one person still dies of the disease every nine minutes. Research shows the mortality rate will likely decrease if patients and caregivers have a better understanding of how to treat the disease. In fact, thousands of clinical trials are available for patients to try new, experimental and investigational drugs. But fewer than five percent of adult cancer patients currently choose to participate in them.

"For the first time, colorectal cancer patients will have the opportunity to be educated about clinical trials by someone who has just been in their shoes," said Amy Kelly, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the CCA. "We expect that the intimacy of this experience will encourage more patients to join trials. As more people participate, we will develop the necessary research to find the best treatments for the disease."

Since 1995, participation in clinical trials has declined due to long-standing fear, apprehension and skepticism. Doctors also may not mention trials as an option and access problems still exist. To help maximize the CCA's Buddy Program and address some of these problems, all potential mentors will undergo training to ensure that they can offer the most appropriate guidance. The clinical trial component will expand an existing program in which colon cancer survivors, their families and friends are able to speak to others who have "been t


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