Volume 1, Number 1 ----- Spring/Summer 1998
The University of Colorado PLCO screening center boasts a scenic location - in Denver at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. David Crawford, M.D., the principal investigator, leads 14 staff members in their efforts to recruit new participants and carry out the trial. "I have been very excited about the progress of this well-constructed trial. We are moving along nicely both locally and nationally to meet our goals," says Dr. Crawford.
Currently, almost 9,000 people are participating in PLCO at the University of Colorado (UC). Study coordinator Sheryl Ogden, R.N., and recruiter Ed Gamito, are concentrating their efforts on increasing the number of Hispanic participants. Approximately 12% of the overall Colorado population is Hispanic. The UC center has hired bilingual staff to help participants with limited English language proficiency. When urging ethnic minority enrollment, recruiter Ed Gamito says, "Big decisions are being made about the way health care is delivered. It is a shame to have any group excluded from the decision-making process."
UC staff are excited by the knowledge the medical community will gain from the PLCO Trial. "We will definitely learn what the accuracies of screening tests are and how factors such as diet influence the development of cancer. But the PLCO study is so encompassing and well designed that there is a wealth of information we will gain that we can't even predict right now," Dr. Crawford remarked.
To gain this important knowledge, the UC and the other screening centers need active participants in both groups of the study. "A properly conducted clinical trial is the only scientific way to test the true value of early detection," says Dr. Crawford, "and to do this, people must be impartially randomized to both screening and usual care groups."
When asked why she is interested in the study, Ms. Ogden responded, "I think people can become confused by the news that appears about cancer. Even though people hear and read about the benefits of cancer screening, it has not been proven for every test for every cancer. That is why the PLCO Trial, which is the only study like it in the U.S., is so important."
All UC staff wish to express their deep appreciation and gratitude to all participants in the trial who have given their time and effort to make this an extremely worthwhile endeavor. Dr. Crawford explained, "We understand that it is a major time commitment from participants in both groups of the trial, but without their dedication, we would not able to answer critical questions and advance medicine."
Dr. Crawford also extends his thanks to the staff at UC. Ms. Ogden agrees, "It is very rewarding knowing that everyone working on the PLCO study, here at UC and across the country, is very committed to its mission and purpose." In closing, Mr. Gamito adds, "PLCO is an excellent opportunity for people to make a difference in the fight against cancer."