Residents of Lycoming, Union and Snyder counties have an 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 never have been diagnosed with cancer are needed to participate in the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study-3, known as CPS-3.
The study will help researchers better understand the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer.
"My mom is a two-time cancer survivor and I'm doing all I can to make sure my children don't have to say that. I really believe this (CPS-3) is part of the answer," one study participant said.
From Aug. 9-14, residents from the three counties can enroll in the study. To enroll, visit www.centralpacps3.org or call 1-888-604-5888.
Participants will be asked to register for an appointment at an enrollment site and then complete a comprehensive survey online.
At the enrollment site, participants will be asked to read and sign an informed consent form; complete a brief survey, have their waist circumference measured; and give a small blood sample taken by a certified phlebotomist. The in-person enrollment process takes about 30 minutes.
Upon completion of the process, the society will send periodic follow-up surveys to update participant information and annual newsletters with study updates and results.
The initial and follow-up surveys completed at home will take an hour or less of time to complete and are expected to be sent 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 Dr. Alpa V. Patel, 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," he said. "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 to build on evidence from a series of American Cancer Society studies that began in the 1950s and have involved millions of volunteer participants.
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 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 the area to join this effort that we know will save lives and improve the outlook for future generations," Patel said.