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MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center Receives Prestigious Award for Clinical Research

MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center is one of only 10 community oncology practices in the country to receive honors from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and The ASCO Cancer Foundation for efforts to improve care of people with cancer through participation in clinical trials. ASCO's 2008 Clinical Trial Participation Award will be presented to MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center on June 1, 2008, at ASCO's 44th Annual Meeting in Chicago.

MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center is one of only 10 community oncology practices in the country to receive honors from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and The ASCO Cancer Foundation for efforts to improve care of people with cancer through participation in clinical trials. ASCO's 2008 Clinical Trial Participation Award will be presented to MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center on June 1, 2008, at ASCO's 44th Annual Meeting in Chicago.

"Our clinical trials program is truly impressive," said medical oncologist Dr. Preston Steen. "It sets us apart in the region and allows us to get cutting-edge treatments to our patients. In 2007, 13 percent of our adult patients participated in cancer clinical trials, which is much higher than the national average."

Of the 1.3 million people who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, only 3 to 5 percent will participate in cancer clinical trials. In 2007, the MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center enrolled 206 adult patients onto clinical trials, giving them the opportunity to receive cutting-edge cancer therapies. At any given time, MeritCare patients (children and adults) are participating in over 100 clinical trials (some are to prevent cancer, some are to treat cancer, and some are to manage a patient's symptoms).

"Virtually every cancer treatment available today is the direct result of clinical research. ASCO is pleased to honor the MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center for its dedication to developing new ways to slow, halt, cure and prevent cancer," said ASCO President Nancy Davidson, MD.

Clinical trials are research studies designed to evaluate whether a new treatment or procedure is safe and effective compared to the current standard of care. Thanks in large part to the knowledge gained through clinical trials, today two-thirds of cancer patients survive at least five years after diagnosis, compared with half in the 1970s.

Every new patient at MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center receives information about clinical trials before they are even seen in the center. MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center has clinical trials open for all major types of cancer and a list of available clinical trials is on the Web site meritcare.com. Every year research staff, including oncology physicians, clinical research coordinators and research nurses, attends conferences to keep up-to-date and to receive training on ways to increase accrual to clinical trials.

For more information about participating in a clinical trial at MeritCare Roger Maris Cancer Center, contact Sherrie Skuza at (701) 234-5301 or Angie Nordstrom at (701) 234-6298.

About ASCO
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world's leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 25,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. For ASCO information and resources, visit www.asco.org/presscenter. Patient-oriented cancer information is available at www.cancer.net.

The ASCO Cancer Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The ASCO Cancer Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of people with cancer through programs that support cutting-edge research and education in oncology. The ASCO Cancer Foundation is the torch bearer for the next generation of oncology researchers and the purveyor of knowledge to cancer patients. With the support of the cancer community and the public at large, The ASCO Cancer Foundation is making a world of difference in cancer care.