ACS enrolling Midlands residents in historic cancer study

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The American Cancer Society is looking for 1,000 people from around the Midlands to enroll in its latest nationwide cancer study.

It's called "CPS-3" or Cancer Prevention Study 3, and its eventual goal is to prevent cancer. ACS is looking for people ages 30 to 65 who have never had a previous personal cancer diagnosis. (Basal and Squamous Cell skin cancers are excluded.) It's also okay if you have a family history of cancer.

Now in its 100th year, the ACS has completed two previous cancer studies that officials say have led to groundbreaking discoveries. The first study was completed in the 1950s. "[Volunteers] went out door to door and enrolled one million men, and the initial point of the study was to prove that tobacco did not cause cancer," said Jennifer Nielson, the Area Executive Director for ACS. "Obviously to this day it proved the exact opposite, and all the legislation and awareness that we have today is due to that study," added Nielson.

Nielson says the second study was completed in the 1980s and proved the link between obesity and cancer, and diet and cancer. Now researchers are looking to get even more specific when it comes to people's lifestyles. "We're looking for ways to prevent cancer, and we're doing that through enrolling people and studying their style," added Nielson.

Nielson says they're adding two methodologies to this latest study.  People who enroll will have their waist measurement taken. "The weight that we carry in our waist is hormone based and contributes to the diagnosis of 10 different cancers," said Nielson. Participants will also have a small amount of blood drawn. "That will be studied for patients who will be diagnosed with cancer, so [researchers] can go back and study DNA markers, environmental, hereditary [factors]," added Nielson.

After the initial survey and enrollment appointment, participants will be asked to fill out a lifestyle survey once every two to three years for roughly the next 20 years. In all, organizers estimate the entire process will take three hours over a lifetime.

"Right now we are saving 400 lives a day," said Nielson, referring to ACS's research and latest developments. "Our goal by 2015 with this research is to be saving 1,000 lives a day. So to be able to give 3 hours of your personal time to save 1,000 lives a day is a great contribution."

For the next two weeks, officials with the American Cancer Society will be at nine enrollment sites across the Midlands. For more information on enrolling in the study visit or call (888) 604-5888.

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