Chances are, you probably know someone impacted by some kind of cancer, and often times that impact is devastating.
But now, hundreds of people from our region are being asked to take part in a study aiming to find ways to stop the disease before it starts.
She's never had cancer, but René Rogers will spend the next 20 to 30 years of her life fighting the disease in her own way by taking part in the American Cancer Society's third cancer prevention study, known as CPS-3. "My friend had breast cancer, and I participated in a similar breast cancer study when I lived in England. And then my mom has lung cancer, and my uncle has just died of lung cancer," said Rogers.
We discovered the American Cancer Society is recruiting 600 people just like her from our region to take part in the long-term study. "We need individuals between the ages of 30 and 65 who've never had cancer," said Karen Heaton, in charge of health initiatives for the American Cancer Society of Northeast Tennessee.
Heaton said they are seeking people with all kinds of health backgrounds, as long as you've never been diagnosed with cancer.
We learned the registration itself is quite simple. All you have to do is fill out some information, participate in a survey, and schedule an enrollment appointment where your involvement really begins. "We do a waist circumference. We do have a few questions that we ask, and we take a small sample of blood," Heaton explained. "This is the first time in our studies since 1959 we've actually done a sample of blood."
From there, participants can expect a follow-up survey every few years for the next two or three decades asking about your lifestyle.
The hope is that researchers find something valuable in the nationwide pool of data. "In our first study, we found the link to tobacco and lung cancer," said Heaton. "We're hoping to find that one more link, that one thing that can say, 'hey, we can save lives with this particular change in behavior'."
It's a mission to save lives, but also to save families from heartaches that never go away. "It's very hard to see your loved ones go through anything like cancer and all they have to go through when they're fight it," said Rogers.
We found out the American Cancer Society still needs more than 400 participants to register for the study.
For more facts on the study click here.
If you would like to register to participate click here.