Community involvement can answer critical questions about cancer causes, prevention
Residents of North Port and surrounding communities have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in a historic study that has the potential to change the face of cancer for future generations. Men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are needed to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3. CPS-3 will enroll a diverse population of up to half a million people across the United States and Puerto Rico. The opportunity for local residents to enroll in CPS-3 will take place at the Relay For Life of North Port from 4-8 p.m. April 14 and Relay For Life of Punta Gorda the same day.
These volunteers will help researchers better understand the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer.
“If my involvement in this project can prevent even one family from hearing the words ‘you have cancer,’ I will feel that I have accomplished something huge,” said enrollee Carole Bugglin.
To enroll in the study, people complete two steps, one in person and one at home. As part of the in-person enrollment, individuals complete a brief written survey, have their waist measured, sign an informed consent, and give a small blood sample. The enrollment process is finished when individuals complete the more comprehensive baseline survey. Over the course of the study — which is anticipated to last 20 to 30 years — participants will be asked to fill out follow-up surveys every few years.
“Many individuals diagnosed with cancer struggle to answer the question, ‘What caused my cancer?’ In many cases, we don’t know the answer,” said Alpa V. Patel, Ph.D., principal investigator of CPS-3. “CPS-3 will help us better understand what factors cause cancer, and once we know that, we can be better equipped to prevent cancer.” Dr. Patel added, “Our previous cancer prevention studies have been instrumental in helping us identify some of the major factors that can affect cancer risk. CPS-3 holds the best hope of identifying new and emerging cancer risks, and we can only do this if members of the community are willing to become involved.”
Researchers will use the data from CPS-3 to build on evidence from a series of American Cancer Society studies that began in the 1950s that collectively have involved millions of volunteer participants. The Hammond-Horn Study and previous Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I, and CPS-II) have played a major role in understanding cancer prevention and risk, and have contributed significantly to the scientific basis and development of public health guidelines and recommendations. Those studies confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, demonstrated the link between larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes, and showed the considerable impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions. The current study, CPS-II, began in 1982 and is still ongoing. But changes in lifestyle and in the understanding of cancer in the more than two decades since its launch make it important to begin a new study.
The initial enrollment process takes about 30 minutes at the local event and an additional 45 to 60 minutes at home to fill out the more comprehensive baseline survey. Periodic follow-up surveys of various lengths are expected to be sent every few years to individuals. The voluntary, long-term commitment by participants is what will produce benefits for decades to come.
“Taking an hour or so every few years to fill out a survey — and potentially save someone from being diagnosed with cancer in the future — is a commitment that thousands of volunteer participants have already made. We’re looking for more like-minded individuals in Sarasota and Charlotte counties to join this effort that we know will save lives and improve the outlook for future generations,” said Dr. Patel.
For more information or to learn how to become involved with CPS-3, visit cancer.org/cps3, e-mail cps3@cancer org or call (888) 604-5888. ¦