Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: June 12, 2000

Release #217-00

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Mary Lasher 212/788-2958
Richard Riegel (Thor Industries) 212/370-1570


Free Screenings Available Throughout the Week

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, joined by City Comptroller Alan Hevesi, Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari and Police Commissioner Howard Safir today introduced The Drive Against Prostate Cancer ("The Drive"). Launched by a group of national sponsors, led by Thor Industries, "The Drive" provides a customized mobile medical vehicle designed specifically for prostate cancer screenings. It is visiting City Hall to deliver free prostate cancer screenings as part of its nationwide effort to increase prostate cancer testing and awareness in men age 40 and over.

Also joining the Mayor were James Coney, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF; Wade Thompson, Chairman of Thor Industries; Robert Durkee, Director of Cancer Research Institute; and Paul Mikus, President of Endocare.

Until 5:00 p.m. today, men can visit "The Drive's" custom Airstream Mobile Medical Vehicle in front of City Hall for a confidential PSA blood test and a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). The stop in New York marks the 31st destination on "The Drive's" North American tour and the vehicle will be in the New York area throughout the week providing free prostate cancer screenings (see following page for schedule and locations). Local community organizations including the New York Prostate Cancer Community Outreach Project and the American Italian Cancer Foundation have rallied around "The Drive" in order to provide free prostate cancer screenings to local men.

Mayor Giuliani said, "Each year, close to 200,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause, after lung cancer, of cancer deaths in men. From my own experience, I can assure you that early intervention is the key to fighting this deadly disease. Statistics show that if the disease is detected early, and it is confined to the prostate, the chances of survival are extraordinarily high. I encourage all men over 50, or over 40 if you are African-American or have a family history of the disease, to take advantage of "The Drive" while it is in New York. For those who can't, I strongly urge men at risk of contracting prostate cancer to take this test from their own health care provider. Taking this test should be the highest priority for men at risk of getting the disease. I want to thank Thor Industries and the other sponsors of 'The Drive' program - it's truly a life saver."

"The Drive" was at City Hall as part of a major Father's Day effort, "A Father's Day Gift for Prostate Cancer," sponsored by The Prostate Cancer Initiative, WABC-TV and Newstalk Radio 77 WABC, which culminates in a road race in Central Park on Fathers' Day on June 18. In the weeks leading up to the race, WABC and Newstalk Radio 77 have been airing public service announcements to raise awareness about the disease.

Comptroller Alan Hevesi said, "The only reason all of us are involved in this event is to alert men to make sure they are tested for prostate disease. It is a simple and easy test and it could save your life. I applaud Thor Industries for their work in making this screening program possible."

Borough President Guy Molinari said, "As a survivor of prostate cancer myself, I credit early detection and excellent treatment for my positive prognosis. I join with Mayor Giuliani and others in urging New Yorkers to rigorously seek early detection screenings and awareness and to please take advantage of the opportunity we are announcing today."

Commissioner Safir said, "I have learned a great deal about this disease since I was diagnosed, and the one thing that all the medical professionals agree upon is that early detection is the best form of treatment. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 180,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2000, and now identifies it as the second leading cause of cancer death in men. If you are a male over 50, you owe it to yourself and to the people you love to have yourself tested -- now and every year."

James Coney said, "This is a serious issue for the African American community. African American men are at greater risk than most other groups and they should be tested every year after the age of 40. Thank you to Thor and the other sponsors of this important program."

"The Drive's" mobile medical vehicle, built by "The Drive's" lead sponsor, Thor Industries, is equipped with two private rooms for screenings. The vehicle will have trained medical staff available to perform prostate cancer testing and provide educational information. Men can undergo a confidential screening consisting of a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE). The testing takes approximately 10 minutes. The physician performing the exam will notify patients in writing of the outcome and of any necessary follow-up measures. The American Cancer Society recommends that all men over 50 be screened annually for prostate cancer. And, for African-Americans or men with a family history of cancer, ACS recommends annual screenings over age 40.

Wade Thompson said, "'The Drive has already tested more than 4,000 men for prostate cancer around the United States and Canada, well on our way to our goal of 10,000 men this year. About 8% of the men tested have had some abnormality with their results that required further testing. To these 320 men, the early detection provided by 'The Drive' could literally mean the difference between life and death."

The principle sponsor of the program's New York stop is the recreational vehicle and bus manufacturer Thor Industries. Other sponsors include Endocare; the Cancer Research Institute;; Bayer Diagnostics; and UroCor. By the end of 2000 "The Drive" will have visited more than a dozen cities across the nation, with a goal of providing 10,000 prostate cancer screenings. For more information about "The Drive" call Richard Riegel at 212-370-1570.

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