Cancer-free folks needed for ACS research study

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People who attend this weekend’s Madison County Relay For Life at West Jefferson High School have a chance to be part of cancer research history.

From 6 to 10 p.m. June 13, American Cancer Society volunteers will recruit adults at the Relay for a new national research study called Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3).

The purpose of the study is to help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.

“This research study will never come back to Madison County. It’s here one time only,” said Jessica Ulbrich, volunteer coordinator of Madison County’s participation in CPS-3.

Enrollment for the study is happening at only three Relays in Ohio this year. Two took place in May in Bowling Green and Boardman. West Jefferson is the last site for 2008. Opportunities to sign up at other Relays will be offered in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“The American Cancer Society wants to enroll a total of 500,000 people for CPS-3. Our goal is to sign up over 200 people at the Madison County Relay,” said Ulbrich, whose volunteer team is composed of her fellow Madison County Hospital employees. Ulbrich is the hospital’s marketing coordinator.

Eligibility

Participation in CPS-3 is open to anyone who is:

• between 30 and 65 years old;

• has never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer);

• and is willing to make a long-term commitment to the study, which simply involves completing periodic follow-up surveys.

Participants can be from anywhere in the United States. They do not need to be active in Relay For Life or live in the county or city in which sign-ups are being held. There is no cost to take part.

What’s Involved

Enrollment in the study comes in two parts. The first takes place at the Relay. The second takes place at home. At the Relay, enrollees will be asked to:

• read and sign an informed consent form;

• complete a brief written survey;

• provide a waist measurement; and

• give a small blood sample (similar to a doctor’s office visit) drawn by a trained, certified phlebotomist.

“Enrollment at Relay should take only about 30 minutes,” Ulbrich said.

At home, participants will fill out a more detailed survey about their lifestyle, behavioral and other factors related to their health. Then, approximately every two years for the next 20 years, the American Cancer Society will send follow-up surveys to participants. All information remains confidential.

“The commitment is really minimal,” Ulbrich said. “Just by taking 45 minutes every couple of years to fill out a survey in your home, you can make a huge difference.

“It’s one of those opportunities that doesn’t come along often—a chance to participate in active research and be part of something bigger than yourself.”

Results of earlier studies

The American Cancer Society’s research division began conducting follow-up studies in the 1950s. Their findings have included:

• the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer;

• the impact of obesity on the risk of dying from cancer;

• the link between aspirin use and lower risk of colon cancer;

• the impact of physical activity, diet, hormone use, other medications and vitamins, and other factors in relation to cancer risk;

• the impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions.

For more information

For more information about CPS-3, go to www.cancer.org/cps3, send e-mail to cps3@cancer.org, or call 1-888-604-5888. Questions also may be directed to Jessica Ulbrich at Madison County Hospital, 740-845-7055.

The Madison County Relay For Life will start at 6 p.m. June 13, continue through the night, and end at noon on June 14. Anyone can participate. For details about the Relay itself, contact Jess Gross at 740-604-0005 or jgross84@yahoo.com.

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