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Community involvement can answer critical questions about cancer


3/12/12:

Residents of Eastern Massachusetts have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in a historic study that has the potential to change the face of cancer for future generations.

Men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are invited to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). CPS-3 will enroll a diverse population of up to half a million people across the United States and Puerto Rico. The opportunity for local residents to enroll in CPS-3 is being made possible in partnership with Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass. on Wednesday, April 25, 7:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., in the hospital’s Cheney Conference Room. Parking costs will be reimbursed and there is no charge to participate in the study. To schedule an appointment and view enrollment times, go to www.seeuthere.com/cps3enroll/emersonhospital.

CPS-3 will help researchers better understand the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer. “My mom is a two-time cancer survivor and I’m doing all I can to make sure my children don’t have to say that…. I really believe this (CPS-3) is part of the answer,” stated one study participant.

To enroll in the study, individuals will be asked to read and sign an informed consent form; complete a comprehensive survey packet that asks for information on lifestyle, behavioral and other health factors; have their waist circumference measured; and give a small blood sample. Upon completion of this process, the American Cancer Society will send periodic follow-up surveys to update participant information, as well as annual newsletters with study updates and results.

The in-person enrollment process takes approximately 20 – 30 minutes to complete. Periodic follow-up surveys of various lengths are expected to be sent every few years to individuals.

“Emerson Hospital is proud to offer our community this historic opportunity, which we hope one day will spare someone from hearing the words ‘You have cancer,’” said Emerson Hospital President and CEO Christine Schuster.

“Many individuals diagnosed with cancer struggle to answer the question, ‘What caused my cancer?’ In many cases, we don’t know the answer,” said Alpa V. Patel, Ph.D., principal investigator of CPS-3. “CPS-3 will help us better understand what factors cause cancer, and once we know that, we can be better equipped to prevent cancer.”

Dr. Patel added, “Our previous cancer prevention studies have been instrumental in helping us identify some of the major factors that can affect cancer risk. CPS-3 holds the best hope of identifying new and emerging cancer risks, and we can only do this if members of the community are willing to become involved.”

Researchers will use the data from CPS-3 to build on evidence from a series of American Cancer Society studies that began in the 1950s and have involved millions of volunteer participants. The Hammond-Horn Study and previous cancer prevention studies (CPS-I and CPS-II) have played a major role in understanding cancer prevention and risk, and have contributed significantly to the scientific basis and development of public health guidelines and recommendations.

Those studies confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, demonstrated the link between larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes, and showed the considerable impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions. The current study, CPS-II, began in 1982 and is still ongoing. However, changes in lifestyle and in the understanding of cancer in the more than two decades since its launch make it important to begin a new study.

The voluntary, long-term commitment by participants is what will produce benefits for decades to come. “Taking an hour or so every few years to fill out a survey – and potentially save someone from being diagnosed with cancer in the future – is a commitment that thousands of volunteer participants are making. We're looking for more like-minded individuals in the Emerson Hospital service area to join this effort that we know will save lives and improve the outlook for future generations,” said Dr. Patel.

For more information or to learn how to become involved with CPS-3, visit cancer.org/cps3, email cps3@cancer org or call toll-free 1-888-604-5888.

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The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

Emerson Hospital is a multi-site health system headquartered in Concord, Mass., with additional facilities in Bedford, Sudbury, Groton and Westford. The 179-bed hospital provides advanced medical services to more than 300,000 individuals in 25 towns. To learn more, visit www.emersonhospital.org.