LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Just the mention of the word sends chills of terror through friends and family members when a diagnosis of this dreadful, life-changing disease is given to a loved one.
The efforts of various groups to raise funds for research for education, prevention and — hopefully — a cure for this devastating disease are continuous, but the newest project by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to study the causes and prevention of cancer is dependent upon those willing to sacrifice just a few minutes each year to help with a cancer prevention study.
A new research study, called CPS-3, is open to anyone ages 30 to 65 who has never been diagnosed with cancer. Participants can enroll online and are asked to complete a survey that includes information about lifestyle, behavior, genetics and other information vital to pinpoint some possible causes of cancer in the southeastern region of the United States.
Participants willing to make the commitment must complete periodic follow up surveys at home for the next 20 to 30 years.
Those wishing to participate in the ACS study can register online by visiting the website: cps3kentucky.org. After completing the initial survey, participants can schedule an appointment at Saint Joseph-London on Tuesday, Aug. 7 when a blood sample will be taken.
Charlotte Brewer of the American Cancer Society is heading the local effort to recruit participants for the study and said those interested are asked to register, complete the initial survey, schedule an appointment for a blood drawing, and dedicate a few minutes per year to update information by telephone or online surveys.
“This is a coast to coast project,” Brewer said. “We are hoping to recruit 300,000 to 500,000 people who will be involved in the study for 20 years. All it requires is yearly surveys. Those who participate are asked for an initial blood sample but after that, the information is done through a survey only.”
Brewer said this is the third such cancer study done by ACS, but this is the first to encompass the more rural parts of southeastern United States.
“The second survey was done in 1982 but most of it was in the metropolitan areas,” Brewer said. “This one is different because it’s including the rural areas of southeastern Kentucky and the southeast.”
The surveys, she said, have been monumental in pinpointing potential problems in the past. For instance, the first such survey conducted in the 1950s was conclusive in linking tobacco use with lung cancer.
“Our rates of cancer in southeastern Kentucky are among the highest rates in the nation. We have high instances of lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate, breast and cervical cancer,” Brewer said. “Our lifestyles are what’s hurting us — our eating habits, lack of exercise, tobacco use. We’ve got to get a handle on this, and by studying our lifestyle, we may be able to pinpoint the causes and even the preventative measures we are taking. We’re looking at genetic, environmental and lifestyles to determine the instances and causes of cancer in this area.”
The cost to participate in the study is free; even the blood sample and screening are free, she said.
For those who have already been diagnosed with cancer and cannot participate, family members, caregivers and friends can participate in that person’s honor.
“We’ve had people in other areas do that,” Brewer said. “In one (southeastern) state, three generations — a mother, daughter, and granddaughter — all came to do the study. Others came because their loved one couldn’t participate. That’s what we’d like to see here.”
Brewer said the screening process scheduled for Aug. 7 were targeted between 7:30 a.m. and noon and again from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“We have it set up that way to accommodate people’s work schedules,” she said.
She added that if you schedule an appointment at 8 a.m. and you see a large number of people arriving at the same time, worry not.
“We are looking to have everyone in and out within 30 minutes. According to the number of people who respond, we will have enough phlebotomists available to do that. The more people we have scheduled, the more phlebotomists we will have available.”
Those without access to the Internet wishing to participate in the study can call the cancer prevention office toll free at 1-888-604-5888.
Study to focus on rural, southeast Kentucky
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
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