This year alone, 1.6 million new cases of cancer will be reported. This places a huge burden on the healthcare system and a lot of pain and costly tests and treatments for individuals. The greatest causes of cancer are cigarettes, obesity and alcohol use. However, many who are diagnosed with cancer do not have risk factors. As a result, The American Cancer Society seeks Chicago-area residents to participate in an historic research study, called the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3), taking place this year. Chicago area screenings will take place in the South and West suburbs in September 2013.
“A large number of people participating in a study helps provide a statistical correlation that is both valid and helpful,” said LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, whose specialty is public health. “Our goal is enroll 300,000 in this study. Those who enroll will be followed for the next 10 to 20 years.”
To participate, an online enrollment form, anyone interested must sign up to attend a one-time, in-person site visit where each will fill out a survey, get a waist measurement taken and have blood samples drawn in order to obtain baseline information.
Project director and lead Chicago recruiter Elizabeth Jablonski, PhD, explained that having a wide variety of people volunteer for this study will ensure the study’s success. “The information [we collect] is compiled to identify trends within a population,” she said. “These studies help us verify [what we] understand [about] cancer and help our research. We need a large, diverse genetics sample to help [us help] people stay as healthy as possible. [Volunteering to participate in a study] is a unique, meaningful way for [individuals] to get involved in cancer research. Only a small amount of time can make enormous impact.”
“Blood samples and waist sizes may provide some clues to genetic links and markers that may be risk factors,” added Dr. Hasbrouck. “Once identified, we can screen for biologic markers like BRACA-1. These studies require little effort and time on the part of participants, but are invaluable to many.”
Cancer survivor and research supporter Cynthia Cycon had no known risk factors when she was first diagnosed with cancer at 37. Overcoming that, she was diagnosed with a more advanced cancer in a different location in 2010. “Despite good mammograms and checkups, everyone is still vulnerable, even to late stage cancer,” Cycon said. “We need to be vigilant and need to cure and prevent this disease. Healthy living only lessens the risk, it doesn’t prevent it. There is no vaccine. We need more research!” She added that research participants provide invaluable insights. “The lives they save could be their own or their children’s.”