Only 2 months left to enroll in STAR breast cancer prevention study


San Antonio (March 23, 2004) – Most of us know someone, perhaps even a close loved one, who has had breast cancer. Nearly 200,000 American women a year are diagnosed with the disease and 40,000 deaths are linked to it. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.

Women who want to decrease their chances of developing the disease are invited to inquire about eligibility for the STAR breast cancer prevention trial (STAR is short for the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifen). More than 18,000 women are participating in the study at 500 sites across the United States through the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Program, a network of researchers supported by the National Cancer Institute. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, a participating center since 1999, is offering a final opportunity for patients to enroll in the study through May 20, when enrollment will end.

“We seek to enroll postmenopausal women age 35 or older who are at increased risk for breast cancer because of factors such as present age, number of first-degree female relatives with breast cancer and history of previous breast biopsies,” said Morton S. Kahlenberg, M.D., principal investigator of the trial and associate professor of surgery at the Health Science Center. “Women will benefit by obtaining preventive medications at no cost while taking part in a study that will, No. 1, determine which medication is better in the long run at preventing breast cancer and, No. 2, compare the long-term safety of the two therapies.” An added benefit will be close medical observation throughout the study, resulting in earlier detection of disease should it develop.

Women will be randomized to one of the two treatment arms. STAR participants take the daily dose of either tamoxifen or raloxifen for five years and are followed for two more years after discontinuation of the study medication. After an initial visit to the Health Science Center, all tests and evaluations can be performed by the woman’s own physician.

At least 100 women are needed locally to participate. For more information, call Betty Razvillas, research nurse, at (210) 567-5755 or Mireya Vasquez, data manager, at 567-5759.

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