Participants needed for cancer study

Published 9:00 pm Saturday, March 30, 2013

Editor’s note: This is another in a series of stories leading up to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life on May 17.

Men and women of all races ages 30-65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are needed for a nationwide cancer prevention study that will help researchers better understand causes of cancer and how to avoid it.

At least 300,000 participants will ultimately be enrolled in the third Cancer Prevention Study by the American Cancer Society, said Angela Francis, community manager for the American Cancer Society.

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“We have to have at least 300,000 for the study altogether in order to make it a valuable study,” Francis said. Each site aims to enroll at least 100 people, but Hampton Roads has only a couple enrollees so far.

“We have to do these studies in order to find out why cancer exists, what causes it,” Francis continued. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Initial enrollees will complete detailed surveys and give waist measurements and small blood samples. Over the course of about 20 to 30 years, participants will complete follow-up surveys by mail every couple of years.

Using data for participants who are eventually diagnosed with cancer, researchers can determine risk factors that may have contributed to the disease. Likewise, data for participants who remain cancer-free can help researchers pinpoint factors that reduce cancer risk.

Previous Cancer Prevention Studies by the American Cancer Society have established the links between smoking and lung cancer, as well as obesity and cancer.

The outcome of the study “will affect people’s children, and their children, and their children’s children,” Francis said. “We have to figure out what the root of cancer is so we can finish the fight.”

Enrollment is taking place June 15 from 8 to 11:30 a.m. at Sentara BelleHarbour, 3920A Bridge Road. Other dates and times are available in June throughout Hampton Roads. To make an appointment or for more information, visit

The upcoming Relay for Life will raise money for the American Cancer Society. For more information, visit