MDCH, Prostate Cancer Research Fund Receives $52,000 Matching Grant from Michigan Blues Foundation

Contact: James McCurtis, Jr. (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

March 9, 2010

The Prostate Cancer Research Fund has received a $52,000 grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to help in the fight against the most frequently diagnosed cancer in Michigan, and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men.

As part of a partnership between the Blues Foundation and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), a new program is currently under development to provide grants to Michigan researchers working on prostate cancer.

"This contribution doubles the initial funding received by the Prostate Cancer Research Fund to support research on this important public health issue," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH director. "All of us know someone who has been affected by this disease."

"We see this as an ideal opportunity to help make a difference by supporting research on a critical health issue facing many Michigan men," said Ira Strumwasser, executive director and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. "We look forward to partnering with the Michigan Department of Community Health to develop and support research in our state."

The Prostate Cancer Research Fund was created by Senator Buzz Thomas (D-Detroit) to provide funds, secure donations and promote prostate cancer research in the state. During the 2008 tax season, Michigan residents contributed $52,000 to the fund via state tax check-off, and the Blues Foundation has now matched those donations. Michigan taxpayers will again have an opportunity to contribute money to the Prostate Cancer Research Fund when completing their 2009 state income tax forms by checking line 9 on the Voluntary Contributions Schedule.

For more than 20 years, prostate cancer has been the most frequently diagnosed cancer in Michigan. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men. African American men have a higher rate of diagnosis than men of other racial or ethnic groups in Michigan and across the United States, with a death rate that is 2.4 times higher than their counterparts.