Wishing I were older

Published 8:58 pm Monday, April 1, 2013

It’s been a long time since I wished to be a couple years older than I was — since I was 16 or so, I guess.

But this year, I’m wishing again, because I wish I could participate in the American Cancer Society’s third Cancer Prevention Study.

The study is only accepting folks ages 30-64. I haven’t hit the big 3-0 yet, so I can’t participate.

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I wish I could, though, because it sounds remarkably easy and will benefit so many people. The cancer society’s previous studies of this nature helped establish the links between smoking and lung cancer and between obesity and cancer.

The study will enroll hundreds of thousands of people, collect data on them including waist measurements and a survey on health behaviors, and then track them for two or three decades to see not only how their behaviors change, but also if they’re diagnosed with cancer.

To initially enroll, participants only need to complete a survey and have an appointment that lasts 30 minutes or so. The only painful part will be a small blood sample, but it will be worth it knowing you’re helping future generations learn about the causes and treatment of cancer.

For future tracking, participants will only need to complete follow-up surveys by mail.

Researchers will analyze the data, looking at risk factors that may have contributed to the disease for those who are diagnosed with cancer and factors that may have contributed to others remaining cancer-free.

I encourage everyone who is eligible — meaning you’re between 30 and 65 and have never been diagnosed with cancer — to sign up for the study. Both men and women are needed, and a variety of ethnicities and racial groups are needed as well.

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 www.cps3hamptonroads.org.

The upcoming Relay for Life, set for May 17-18, will support this study and other important work of the American Cancer Society. To find out more information, visit www.relayforlife.org/suffolkva.