Helping provide what could be key data in the fight against cancer only takes a matter of minutes.
It takes participants only about 20 minutes to provide background information and a blood sample, but the benefits could last generations.
In the first day of the Cancer Prevention Study-3 at The Medical Center of Central Georgia, 251 people took part Wednesday, officials from the hospital said.
The study continues Thursday at the hospital’s Cancer Life Center from 2 to 8 p.m. Though people were encouraged to preregister to take part in the event, Director of Oncology Services Nancy White said there is plenty of room for walk-ins who want to participate.
“It’s been awesome,” said White, who is also a member of Macon City Council. “It’s been brisk since 7 a.m. ... We’re real pleased with the steadiness. People are saying, ‘It’s so easy, so organized.’ We welcome walk-ins. The more, the merrier.”
This is the third national cancer prevention study ever conducted and the first in Macon. The first study took place in the 1950s and helped prove the link between tobacco and lung cancer.
The second study began in 1982 and helped lead researchers to figure out that one baby aspirin per day -- 81 milligrams -- can help reduce the risk for colon cancer. It also has yielded valuable data about food and lifestyle choices and how they may relate to someone’s chances of developing cancer.
A participant in the current study fills out forms detailing lifestyle habits, medical history and other information. The person also gives a blood sample that can be used by researchers to check for cancer markers if the participant later develops cancer.
The participant must fill out updated lifestyle questionnaires every two years for the remainder of the study -- another 20 to 30 years.
White said anyone who is age 30 to 65 and is willing to fill out the questionnaires every two years is eligible for the study, provided that the participant has never been diagnosed with cancer (except non-melanoma skin cancer).
Courtney McDaniel, 34, of Barnesville, is participating. She is a hospice social worker and deals with cancer patients on a regular basis.
“I see a lot of cancer patients, and I wanted to do something to help out, I guess,” she said. “It’s really quick and pretty easy. It’s very well-organized.”
Cindy Glance, 51, of Macon, said her brother-in-law died at age 44 from colon cancer.
“I tend to like to read information about health,” she said. “I wanted to participate in continuing those kind of studies.”
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.