ACS to host cancer prevention study

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

The American Cancer Society is asking Shelby County residents to enroll in a cancer prevention study this August.

The study, known as Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3), is the latest in a handful of studies over the last few decades that examine how genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors cause or prevent cancer.

“We’re really known for our cancer prevention studies,” ACS Communications Director Scarlet Thompson said. “We’re bringing it to large metro areas across the nation for the next year and a half.”

The American Cancer Society hopes to enroll about 300,000 people nationwide in CPS-3. They hope to enroll about 1,000 from the Birmingham metro area.

“You can help us find out what is causing cancer and how to prevent it,” Thompson said. “It’s really cool. You’re basically changing health history by participating in it.”

Previous studies have produced several “revelations” about cancer causes and preventions, including the link between being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle to increased risk of cancer. A 1980s study linked aspirin use to a lower risk of colon cancer.

“We were the first study to ever link smoking to cancer back in the 1950s and 60s,” Thompson said.

Enrollment in the Birmingham metro area will be held Aug. 22-29 at various locations, including the Pelham YMCA, 2610 Pelham Parkway, and the Greystone YMCA, 5414 Highway 280.

Participants must be 30-65 years old and have no history of cancer, unless it’s a non-melanoma skin cancer.

To enroll, participants will be asked to

  • Read and sign a consent form.
  • Complete a comprehensive survey that asks for information about lifestyle, behavioral and other health factors.
  • Have his or her height, weight, heart rate and waist circumference measured.
  • Give a small blood sample.

Survey participants must complete follow-up surveys either online or by mail every few years for the next two to three decades.

“It’s all confidential,” Thompson said. “The only folks who have that information are our researchers at our home office in Atlanta.”

Participants will also receive annual newsletters with study updates and results.

For more information, visit Cps3birmingham.org.