Resolve to Help Researchers Learn More About CancerDec 26, 2012
The new year is a natural time to try for a new start. Many people resolve to lose weight, exercise more, or quit smoking. All these goals can help keep you healthy and lower your risk for developing serious diseases like cancer. But did you know you can also help researchers learn more about cancer and how to prevent it?
The American Cancer Society is inviting men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 years who have no personal history of cancer to join a historic research study. The Cancer Prevention Study – 3 (CPS-3) promises to shed light on many of the factors that affect cancer risk. The Society needs at least 300,000 people to enroll in the study – people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds from all across the US.
CPS-3 is a long-term study of lifestyle and cancer. Participants will answer periodic questionnaires about their habits (what they eat, how much exercise they get, whether they smoke, etc.). Over the course of 20 years, Society researchers will follow the participants to see who develops cancer, in hopes of learning how a person's lifestyle, environment, and genetic makeup influence who gets the disease.
Alpa Patel, PhD, strategic director of Cancer Prevention Study-3, said, “Most people who volunteer to enroll do it not because they will personally benefit, but because this will eventually create a world that is better for their children than it was for them.” Patel quoted one participant who said, “I have two beautiful grandchildren and I want cancer gone for them.”
How to Sign Up
Anyone between the ages of 30 and 65 who has never had cancer (other than basal or squamous cell skin cancer) can sign up for CPS-3. To enroll, participants have to answer a brief questionnaire, get their waist measured, and give a blood sample. They also have to agree to the long-term follow-up the study requires.
The American Cancer Society has a long and successful track record with this type of research. Previous studies (some dating back to the 1950s) have helped identify important cancer risk factors like tobacco use, obesity, air pollution, and others. In fact, these kind of studies were key to discovering that smoking can cause lung cancer and that being obese raises the risk of developing several types of cancer.
The CPS-3 will build on the information from the older CPS research, as well as more recent scientific discoveries.
Patel said many of the exposures and habits common in daily life today are very different from those in the early 80s when the last CPS enrollment was under way. For example, she said much of the work in CPS-3 will build on what researchers previously learned about tobacco use and links between cancer and obesity. Patel said, “To better inform cancer control and prevention today, we need to continue with a contemporary population.”
Patel said, “Since the 1950s, every generation has paid it forward so the next generation can live in a healthier world – a world where we understand more about what causes cancer.”