Houston residents sought for national cancer study

efarlow@macon.comJuly 25, 2013 

Many people feel helpless when a friend or family member is diagnosed with cancer, said Heather Griffin, who is with the American Cancer Society office in Macon.

Participating in the nationwide Cancer Prevention Study-3 is a way for people to help, she said.

The American Cancer Society is asking Houston County residents to register for the study, which Griffin said will look at links between cancer and lifestyle. The study also will look at the relationship between cancer and genetics.

Griffin said the goal is to have 250 participants from Houston County.

“This is a way for people to get involved (in cancer research),” said Griffin.

Houston County residents 30 to 65 years old who have never been diagnosed with cancer can register for one of three appointment days in November by visiting www.cps3houstonga.org and filling out a survey. Those who have been diagnosed with basal or squamous cell skin cancer can still participate.

“If you have had cancer, a way you can get involved is asking your friends and family to get involved (in the study),” said Griffin.

Appointments are 9-11:30 a.m. Nov. 16 at the Houston County Galleria in Centerville, 3-6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at Central Georgia Technical College on Cohen Walker Drive in Warner Robins, and 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Robins Federal Credit Union on Robins Drive in Warner Robins.

At the appointment, participants will sign a consent form, have their waist measured and give a blood sample.

“It only takes about 20 minutes,” said Griffin.

Every couple years, participants will complete a survey. Griffin said past surveys have asked about lifestyle, diet and weight changes.

The Cancer Prevention Study-3 is a nationwide endeavor, and the American Cancer Society hopes to have 300,000 participants, said Griffin. The cut-off to register is Dec. 31.

The first Cancer Prevention Study started in the 1950s and discovered a link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, according to a news release.

Nancy White, director of oncology at The Medical Center of Central Georgia, said the second study, started in the 1980s, found links between obesity and certain types of cancer. It also found taking one baby aspirin a day can reduce the risk of colon cancer, she said.

Residents of Macon had the opportunity to register for the third study a little over one year ago. White said registration was “hugely successful,” and there were more than 600 registrants.

“People came out in droves,” she said. “It was a moving experience.”

The study will begin next year after all participants have registered, said Griffin. She said no other organization is doing a study like this, and it could one day lead to the prevention of cancer.

“This is not trying to find a cure for cancer,” White said. “This is cutting it off, so no one has to hear, ‘You have cancer.’ ”

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.

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