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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Help End Cancer - Historic Opportunity to Participate in American Cancer Society Study

Do you know someone who has had cancer? Of course you do. One-third of all women will get cancer if their lifetime, as will one-half of men. We know some things about cancer, like the link between smoking and cancer, which was discovered from the first generation American Cancer Society study in the 1950s.

In fact, the ACS made over 500 scientific findings about a wide range of cancers since then - including the impact of hormones, physical activity and diet on cancer risks. And the link between aspirin use and the reduced risk of colon cancer. The ACS played a role in almost every cancer breakthrough in recent history.

Do you ever wonder how they make these discoveries? It's through studies involving volunteers like you. Right now the ACS is recruiting for its third generation study on cancer, looking at how lifestyle, the environment and genetics affect cancer risks. Imagine what kinds of discoveries could be made and how much pride you'll take in knowing that you helped. Imagine knowing that you helped eliminate or prevent cancer for future generations. (Sign up here)

The Bay Area is a prime recruiting target, given its diversity in ethnic make-up and the LGBT community. If you've ever asked someone you know with cancer what you could do to help, then this is the study for you. They can't study a population that doesn't enroll. This is a way to help that does't cost you money and doesn't take any more time that making dinner. (Did I mention you can sign up here?)

Yes, it's a long-term commitment (20 years or more), it's only once every few years for less than an hour. Volunteers for the past two generational studies are so committed that more than 90% of them continue to fill out their surveys over that time period.

Volunteering involves one in-person visit, and filling out a health and lifestyle questionnaire every two to three years. There's no other commitment. You continue living your life as you always do. (Okay, I know you want to know how to sign up - do it here)

The in-person visit take 20-30 minutes. You'll sign an informed consent form. They'll draw one vial of blood (about 7 tsp) and you don't have to fast first. They'll measure your waist. That's it. Then go home and fill out a questionnaire that will take about 45 minutes. The questionnaire will ask about tobacco use, weight history, physical activity, family and personal medical history, your occupation and medications.

The study will include 300,000 people in the United States. They're recruiting the last 50,000 now, and need 4,000 participants from the Bay Area (be one of the 4,000 and sign up here).

Do you qualify? You need to be between the ages of 30-65 and have not had cancer yourself (squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma are fine). That's it!

To sign up in the Bay Area, go to this American Cancer Society websitehttp://www.cps3bayarea.org/.
If you live in another area of the country and want to enroll, use this linkhttp://cancer.org/cps3

I'm very excited about the historic opportunity to get involved in this study. My husband is a research scientist who works in the cancer area. Aside from blogging, I'm a medical writer who relies heavily on published studies to report new findings. We've both participated in medical studies several times. It's a great feeling to know that you're helping advance science to help others (aren't you convinced already? Enroll here).

Q and A:

Where do I enroll?
The five Bay Area counties have enrollment sites which you can find here. If you live outside the area, you can look into enrollment here.

What are Bay Area enrollment dates/sites?

  • Alameda (July 20-August 3)
  • Marin County (July 24-August 7)
  • San Francisco (July 17-August 10)
  • San Mateo (July 24-August 10)
  • Santa Clara (July 13-August 10)
You can sign up before the actual enrollment dates. Those dates are when appointments are scheduled. Each county has a bunch of convenient locations.

What happens at the in-person visit?
The visit is about 20 minutes, and you'll give a small blood sample (like they'd take at your doctor's office) and measure your waist. That's it!

What is the time commitment?
Aside from the one-time in-person (20 minutes), you'll fill out your initial health questionnaire at home and that takes about 45 minutes. Every two to three years you'll fill out another questionnaire at home, which will take no longer than one hour.

What are the qualifications to participate?
You must be between the ages of 30-65 and have no personal history of cancer (family history is fine). You can have had squamous cell or basal cell carcinoma (two types of skin cancer) and still be eligible, though. Men, women and people of all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to join.

Do I get paid?
You get paid in karma, not cash. You'll be paying it forward by helping future generations know more about what causes cancer and adding to the knowledge base.

Will I told about the findings?
You'll get a yearly newsletter updating you on any findings and how the study is progressing. The ACS website will also post any published findings as they happen, so you can stay up to date.

Disclosure: I was compensated for my participation in learning and sharing about CPS-3 through Women Online/The Mission List. All opinions stated here are my own.

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