Helping fight cancer can be as easy as filling out a survey every other year, as part of an upcoming cancer prevention study.
Participants are being sought for the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study-3, named because it is the third of its kind to help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.
"What if you could prevent even one family from hearing the words, 'You have cancer?' " asked Janet Ulmer, regional health initiatives director for the central region.
Qualifications include people who are between 30 to 65 years old, are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study for the next 20 to 30 years and have never been diagnosed with cancer, excluding basal or squamous cell skin cancer.
To enroll, those who qualify can schedule an in-person appointment online or over the phone. After scheduling an appointment, a comprehensive survey will be given. It will include questions regarding medications, family history of cancer and other behaviors. The survey must be completed before the in-person appointment.
At the in-person appointment, participants will sign an informed consent form, complete a brief survey, provide a waist circumference measurement and a small blood sample.
The appointment should last 20 to 30 minutes, unless the participant cannot fill out the comprehensive survey online, in which case a paper version will be part of the in-person appointment and will add between 30 to 45 minutes.
In-person appointments will be held:
3 to 7 p.m. Aug. 9 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 10 at the American Cancer Society office, 1948 E. Third St.;
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Lycoming Mall Community Room;
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 11 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 14 at the American Cancer Society office, 1420 N. Susquehanna Trail, Selinsgrove, across from Lowe's; and
2 to 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Evangelical Hospital Community Room, 7095 West Branch Highway, Lewisburg in the Staples Plaza.
"We have varying times and places to accommodate people's schedules," Ulmer said.
Every other year, participants will receive a lengthy survey to return that will take between 30 to 45 minutes to complete.
Questions asked include the typical number of fruits and vegetables eaten daily and how much a person smokes.
"Every two years, a commitment of half an hour is a small, small gift of time to greatly help future generations," Ulmer said.
If a person is diagnosed with cancer throughout the length of the survey, the blood taken during the in-person appointment is taken out of the freezer to look at the DNA for connections to other people who were diagnosed.
The goal is to have 430 people sign up for the survey across Lycoming, Union, Snyder and surrounding counties.
So far, enrollment has not been good, with about 86 people signed up.
"If you're waiting for someone else to do it, don't," she said.
Participants most sought after are men and people of diverse backgrounds.
If enough participants are not found by the end of the in-person assignments, more in-person appointments will be created until the number is reached.
Nationwide, the goal is 300,000 people by the end of December 2013.
"It won't be good without (that many people)," Ulmer said.
It was the first Cancer Prevention Study that showed the first conclusive link between smoking and lung cancer.
The second showed how a diet of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of colon cancer, as does a daily baby aspirin.
By removing the effects of smoking, sun exposure, poor diet and poor physical activity, almost 60 percent of cancer would be eliminated, Ulmer said.
For more information, visit cancer.org/cps3 or call 1-888-604-5888.