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Olympus America and Katie Couric Partner in Employee Education Event on Colorectal Cancer

Olympus America announced today it will conduct a major education event for the more than 400 employees at its U.S. headquarters here on September 21 to help raise awareness of the importance of early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer.

Among the speakers at the event will be Katie Couric, co-host of the TODAY Show, who lost her husband Jay Monahan to the disease in January, 1998.

"We are delighted to be joining with Katie Couric and others in bringing the important message that the devastating effects of colorectal cancer can be significantly reduced through education and simple action," said Sidney Braginsky, president of Olympus America.

"Our one goal with this program is to inspire people with the message that 'Not Testing is Not an Option,'" said Braginsky. "Early detection saves lives, and if diagnosed early, patients with colorectal cancer have a more than 90 percent survival rate."

Olympus, which is the worldwide leader in gastrointestinal endoscopes, is sponsoring this educational event as part of its commitment as Leadership Sponsors of the Colorectal Cancer Education Campaign, a national effort launched at the White House in September, 1998, with the support of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ms. Couric.

"This education event reflects our belief that everyone at Olympus can take steps to prevent colorectal cancer and, in turn, act as messengers to others among our families and within our communities," said Louis Cosentino, Vice President and Division Manager for Olympus America's Endoscope Division.

Assisting Olympus in this effort as event speakers are Dr. Sidney Winawer, Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City; Lynn Couey of the New York State Health Department and Director of the New York State Colorectal & Prostate Cancer Initiative; and Amy Manela, senior director of public education at the American Digestive Health Foundation.

In addition to the speaker program, which also features Ms. Couric speaking about her personal experience with colorectal cancer and her current commitment to public education and action, a number of organizations will sponsor exhibits and displays to provide information on prevention, early detection and treatment and related issues.

These groups include the American Digestive Health Foundation, AETNA U.S. Healthcare and several Long Island hospitals, including North Shore Hospital, New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, University Hospital and Medical Center at Stoney Brook and Winthrop University Hospital.

The exhibits will be open to employees beginning at 11:00 a.m. on September 21. The speaker program will run for one hour, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The event will take place outdoors on the grounds of Olympus America's Corporate Headquarters at Two Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York.

Each year, more than 50,000 Americans dies from colorectal cancer and nearly 132,000 new cases are diagnosed. But if detected and treated early, patients with colorectal cancer have a more than 90 percent survival rate. Mean and women are affected equally, and everyone over age 50 is at risk. Experts believe that widespread screening for colorectal cancer could reduce the death rate by more than 50 percent.

Olympus America Inc. distributes a wide range of products for consumer, scientific, health care, commercial and industrial markets. These include film and filmless cameras, microcassette and digital voice recorders, binoculars, film scanners, personal photo printers, medical and industrial endoscopes, biological and metallurgical microscopes and measuring instruments, clinical analyzers, and other high-technology products. Olympus America Inc. is responsible for sales, marketing, distribution and service in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

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