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Prostate cancer is conference focus

Ryan Carter

Understanding prostate cancer and ways to treat the disease will be

the topic of a conference that organizers predict could draw more

than 1,000 people to Burbank beginning Friday.


The 2003 National Conference on Prostate Cancer will last through

Sunday at the Hilton Burbank, 2500 Hollywood Way, and is expected to

attract healthcare professionals from around the world along with

prostate cancer survivors, patients and family members. Prostate


cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among American men,

according to the Mayo Clinic. The American Cancer Society estimates

that 220,900 new cases of prostate cancer will be reported in the

U.S. this year, and that 28,900 men will die from the disease.

The conference, which is taking place in conjunction with Prostate

Cancer Month, will include discussions by renowned prostate cancer

researchers and specialists. The mission of the conference, which

organizers say is the largest of its kind in the nation, is to



“Patients need to be empowered with education,” said Glenn Weaver,

the executive director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute,

which, along with the Foundation for Cancer Research and Education,

is sponsoring the conference. “There are a lot of treatment options,

but this is not a cookie-cutter disease.”

Officials urge spouses to come with their husbands in order to

gain some perspective on treatments and to make sure they are keeping


up with them.

Organizers have a variety of events planned for the conference.

Prostate cancer survivors Michael Milken and Harry Belafonte will

give keynote addresses. Free screenings will be from 8:30 a.m. to

1:30 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. Physicians and

researchers will present the latest findings in diagnostic

techniques, treatment options and nutrition.

At 8:20 a.m. Saturday, there will be a live demonstration of a

color Doppler ultrasound -- an advanced imaging diagnostic technique

-- and a biopsy. The day will also include discussion on alternatives

to chemotherapy and diet.

The Prostate Cancer and Research Institute is a nonprofit

educational and research support organization founded in 1997 by

physicians Stephen Strum and Mark Scholz.

The institute was founded after Strum and Scholz realized that

when patients were better educated about disease, their treatments

and dialogue with physicians were more meaningful and ultimately

successful, said Weaver, whose father died of colon cancer at 57.

Educating the public about the cancer, and improving the level of

care for men with the disease became the organization’s mission.