2013-01-23 / Local News

Local residents asked to participate in cancer study

By JOE L. HUGHES II Ledger Staff Writer joe@gaffneyledger.com

Cancer has taken millions of lives through the years but local residents will have an opportunity to lessen the disease’s impact on future generations.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) requests those between the ages of 30 and 65 to participate in its Cancer Prevention Study—3, more commonly known as CPS-3. The third study of its kind, it will enroll a diverse population of up to 500,000 people in an effort to determine lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that might cause or prevent the disease.

Local residents will have the opportunity to participate in the study during the annual Relay for Life event May 10 at the Timken Track from 6-10 p.m.

“The American Cancer Society believed due to the support of Relay for Life and the passion of local residents that this would be a great place to host the study,” said American Cancer Society volunteer and local CPS—3 campaign chair Jackie Childers. “The biggest reason we do Relay is because of cancer and its effect on us and our families. For that reason, we’re trying to saturate the community and let them know how important this study is to them and their fellow Americans.”

According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s most recent study, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in Cherokee County, trailing only heart disease. The report placed much of the blame for the disease’s prevalence here on smoking, sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits.

“A great many of us here in Cherokee County have been affected by cancer, as is seen with the passion shown at Relay,” Childers said. “If possible, this study can help indicate exactly how cancer affects us as a community and see what we can do to change that.”

Previous cancer prevention studies have played a major role in the understanding of the many forms of cancer, as well as risk factors that might lead to the disease.

The first such cancer prevention study began in October of 1959 as approximately a million men and women enrolled in the prospective mortality study. At the time of enrollment, participants completed a questionnaire providing information regarding their height, weight, demographic characteristics, a family medical history, occupation, diet and alcohol and tobacco use, among other questions.

A similar study began in 1982 with approximately 1.2 million Americans taking part. Many results of the study are currently being compiled.

Information compiled as a result of the study has confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, in addition to showing the impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions.

“Many individuals diagnosed with cancer struggle to answer the question, ‘What caused my cancer?’ In many cases, we don’t have the answer,” said the study’s principal investigator Dr, Alpa V. Patel in a prepared statement. “CPS-3 helps us better understand what factors cause cancer, and once we know that, we can be better equipped to prevent cancer.”

To enroll in the study, individuals will go to a local enrollment location and be asked to read and sign an informed consent form, complete a brief survey, have their waist measured and give a small blood sample. The in-person enrollment process takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

At home, individuals will complete a comprehensive survey packet that asks for information on lifestyle, behavioral and other factors related to their health. Upon completion of this process, the ACS will continue to send periodic follow-up surveys so it can update information and compile annual newsletters with those updates and results.

The initial and follow-up surveys completed at home will take an hour or less to complete and are expected to be sent every few years.

For more information on how to become involved with the CPS-3 study, contact Childers at (864) 490-6870, or e-mail cherokeeco.cps3@gmail.com.

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