American Cancer Society in search of volunteers for study

The American Cancer Society is looking to Vermilion Parish and Acadiana residents to play a direct role in improving the lives of future generations by participating in an historic study.

The Society will be signing up volunteers for its Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) at the Relay For Life of Vermilion Parish on April 24, at Kaplan High School from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The study, which will enroll a diverse population of half a million people across the United States, will help researchers better understand the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer, and will further efforts to eliminate cancer as a major health concern for future generations.

Vermilion Parish will be one of morthan 110 enrollment sites currently scheduled for 2009, nearly double the number of sites that took part in 2008.

Participants must be between the ages of 30 and 65, must never have been diagnosed with cancer, and must be willing to make a long-term commitment to the study, which simply means filling out follow-up surveys at their home periodically. To enroll in the study, individuals will be asked to complete a brief written survey, provide a waist measurement, and give a small blood sample at the Relay enrollment site, in addition to completing a baseline survey at their home. For the first time in more than 50 years of conducting these kinds of studies, the Society is making it possible for participants to complete their baseline and follow-up questionnaires online.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Americans to participate in lifesaving cancer research,” said Eugenia E. Calle, Ph.D., American Cancer Society director of analytic epidemiology, who is overseeing the study. “While we have been conducting these types of studies for decades, our world-class research department can only study new and emerging cancer risks if members of the community are willing to become involved.”

“For 10 years Relay For Life of Vermilion Parish volunteers have been working hard in hope that we will one day find the cure for cancer. We all know someone that has been affected by this disease. Now is our chance to help in a very simple way to actually participate in research. Research that may be the key to a cure,” said Diana Boudreaux, the CPS III Volunteer Chair.

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 and involved hundreds of thousands 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 literature and to the development of public health guidelines and recommendations. Those studies confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, showed that obesity increases the risk of several cancers, and linked aspirin use to a lower death rate from colon cancer. 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 cohort.

The Relay For Life of Vermilion Parish on April 24, 2009 at Kaplan High School will be the only time CPS-3 will be enrolling in Acadiana this year. While initial enrollment takes just 20 to 30 minutes, the study is expected to produce benefits for decades to come. “While science can do a lot to explain the biology and genetics of cancer, some of the most valuable information we have is a direct result of the contributions of dedicated individuals over several generations,” said Dr. Calle. “We are once again looking to the dedication, compassion, and generosity of Americans to come through and help us provide answers that we know will save lives and improve the outlook for future generations.”

For more information or to learn how to become involved with CPS-3, visit www.cancer.org/cps3, email cps3@cancer org, or call toll-free 1-888-604-5888.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

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