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A call to contribute: Locals sought for long-term cancer research effort

Davis resident Kurt Snipes, incoming president of the California Division of the American Cancer Society, checks the number of Davis online enrollees for Cancer Prevention Study 3. Davis enrollment will take place Thursday, April 18, at the Davis United Methodist Church, 1620 Anderson Road. Joanie Erickson/Courtesy photo

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From page A3 | March 31, 2013 |

You can help

What: Sign up to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study 3

When: 3-6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18

Where: United Methodist Church of Davis, 1620 Anderson Road

How: To schedule an enrollment appointment time and for more information, visit www.greatersacramentocps3.org or call 888-604-5888

Davis resident Kurt Snipes is passionate about getting more than 1,000 people from the greater Sacramento area to enroll in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3).

It’s not just because he is the incoming president of the California Division of the American Cancer Society. It’s not just because he heads up the Cancer Surveillance and Research Branch of the California Department of Public Health. And, it’s not just because his grandfather, father and sister have all had cancer.

It is because if we don’t do something about reducing cancer risk, nearly one out of every two Californians born today will develop cancer at some point in their lives, and it’s likely that one in five will die of the disease.

“This is simply not acceptable,” Snipes says. “I hope the Davis community will join me in registering to participate in CPS-3 and help determine the causes of cancer so we can better prevent the disease in the lives of our children and grandchildren.”

Residents of Davis, Woodland and surrounding communities have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in a historic study that has the potential to change the face of cancer for future generations. Men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are needed to participate in the study. CPS-3 will enroll a diverse population of 300,000 people across the United States and Puerto Rico.

Local residents can sign up between 3 and 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at the United Methodist Church of Davis, 1620 Anderson Road.

These volunteers will help researchers better understand the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer.

“We may not be around for the results, but it will help our kids and their kids. When you think of all the participants in studies before who have given us so much in the way of knowledge about obesity, diet and fitness, we thought it was a good thing to do,” says one Northern California study participant.

To enroll in the study, individuals complete two steps, one in person and one at home. As part of the in-person enrollment, individuals complete a brief written survey, have their waist measured, sign an informed consent and give a small blood sample. The enrollment process is complete when individuals finish the more comprehensive baseline survey. Over the course of the study — which is anticipated to last 20 to 30 years — participants will be asked to fill out follow-up surveys every few years that will be sent to their home.

“Many individuals diagnosed with cancer struggle to answer the question, ‘What caused my cancer?’ In many cases, we don’t know the answer,” says Alpa V. Patel, Ph.D., principal investigator of CPS-3. “CPS-3 will help us better understand what factors cause cancer, and once we know that, we can be better equipped to prevent cancer.

“Our previous cancer prevention studies have been instrumental in helping us identify some of the major factors that can affect cancer risk,” Patel continues. “CPS-3 holds the best hope of identifying new and emerging cancer risks, and we can only do this if members of the community are willing to become involved.”

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 that collectively have involved millions 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 basis and development of public health guidelines and recommendations.

Those studies confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, demonstrated the link between larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes, and showed the considerable impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions.

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 study.

The initial enrollment process takes about 30 minutes at the local event and another 45 to 60 minutes at home to fill out the more comprehensive baseline survey. Periodic follow-up surveys of various lengths are expected to be sent every few years to individuals. The voluntary, long-term commitment by participants is what will produce benefits for decades to come.

“Taking an hour or so every few years to fill out a survey — and potentially save someone from being diagnosed with cancer in the future — is a commitment that thousands of volunteer participants have already made,” Patel says. “We’re looking for more like-minded individuals in the Davis and Woodland area to join this effort that we know will save lives and improve the outlook for future generations.”

Adds Snipes, “Cancer is a lot more common and has a greater impact on all of us than many people think. Cancer prevention is key. Nearly two-thirds of all cancers can be prevented by modifying our risk factors. Think about the power of eliminating two-thirds of all cancers by changing the way we live our lives.

“Numbers are important. It is crucial to get as many people enrolled as possible so we can study the modifiable risk factors by different segments of the population and can break the data down by sub-categories. This is critical research. To help meet the national goal of 300,000 people, we need at least 1,000 enrollees from the Sacramento area.”

To schedule an enrollment appointment time and for more information, log on to www.greatersacramentocps3.org or call toll-free 1-888-604-5888.

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