American Cancer Society seeks volunteers for study
VINTON–On August 16, Angie Chewning Lewis, co-chair for the Vinton Relay for Life, was named a “Champion” for the American Cancer Society at a community kick-off for the National Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3), another tool in the fight against cancer.
Lewis has volunteered to help recruit 600 residents of the Roanoke Valley to take part in the new study, which is designed to help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that may cause or prevent cancer.
“I am excited to be a part of such an amazing project,” said Lewis. “I think this helps us get one step closer to ‘Less Cancer More Birthdays’ and getting rid of one C-word ‘cancer’ and using another C-Word—‘CURE’!”
This long-term study will extend for at least 20 years, and will include half a million individuals of diverse backgrounds between the ages of 30 and 65 from across the United States.
An important part of maintaining the scientific validity of this study is being able to follow individuals over time. Young adults in their 20’s tend to be more transient and more difficult to follow. For individuals over the age of 65, much of the relevant time period during early and middle adult years has to be recalled and remembering events, behaviors, or other lifestyle information from many years ago with accuracy can be more difficult. So, individuals ages 30-65 have been selected for the study.
To determine whether risk factors for cancer vary for different groups, the study seeks to enroll men and women across a wide range of ethnic groups as well as across a range of ages.
The initial CPS-1 study, launched in 1959, involved one million adults and established the link between smoking and lung cancer. Beginning in 1982, the CPS-2 study examined the impact of environmental and lifestyle factors on cancer by analyzing data from 1.2 million participants.
Lewis and other volunteers will be working to educate and to encourage area residents to enroll in CPS-3 between October 9 and 13 at nine sites in the Roanoke area, including one at the Charles R. Hill Senior Center in Vinton on Saturday, October 13 between 8:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Participants must never have been diagnosed with cancer, other than basal or squamous cell skin carcinoma.
The study will begin by collecting information on individuals who do not have cancer and this information will be updated over time. As cases of cancer or other diseases develop, researchers will compare those participants who develop cancer with those participants who do not. By doing so, they are able to understand the differences in lifestyle, environment, and genetic factors between people who get cancer and those who do not, what the likely risk factors are for cancer, and how to best prevent disease in the future.
Enrollees must agree to provide a waist measurement and to give a small blood sample. Many conditions, such as insulin resistance, diabetes, and other metabolic conditions, are highly related to waist circumference. Many of these conditions are also related to the development of cancer. Thus, getting this simple waist measurement will provide very important information to researchers in the future.
Participants will then complete a comprehensive survey and follow-up surveys sent to their homes every few years, asking them about their lifestyle, nutrition, exercise and medical history.
While participants are not paid to be part of the study, there is no cost to join. Every effort will be made to protect their identities.
“While the initial enrollment will take 20-30 minutes, the study is expected to produce benefits for decades to come,” said an ACS release.
The ACS has chosen communities with vigorous volunteer organizations like Relay for Life to participate in the study.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to participate in lifesaving cancer research,” said Abigail Bartley, area executive director of the American Cancer Society. “In order to reach the enrollment targets, we need passionate people who are committed to fighting cancer. While the American Cancer Society has been conducting these types of studies for decades, their world-class research department can only study new and emerging cancer risks if members of the community are willing to become involved.”
The kick-off for the recruitment campaign was held at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI). Dr Michael Friedlander, founding executive director of VTCRI, addressed the crowd and highlighted why cancer-free volunteers should participate in the study.
According to his research, 12 million Americans are living with cancer or are survivors of cancer, and every year about 500,000 people die from the disease.
“It impacts all of us. Anything that can allow us to understand what really works or doesn’t work, and decrease the likelihood of cancer is a very positive thing,” says Friedlander.
Those who are interested in joining this historic study may schedule an appointment online at www.cps3Roanoke.org.
Vinton’s Relay for Life Wrap up party for any team members, committee members, and sponsors will be held on September 18 at the War Memorial at 6:30 with a potluck dinner.