To participate in cancer study
1. Visit cps3ncw.org
WENATCHEE — Fifty years ago, half of the men in the United States smoked cigarettes. But it wasn’t until the American Cancer Society solicited help from 188,000 men across the United States that the link between lung cancer and smoking was developed.
Today, the same organization is launching its third major national study, and this time, researchers hope to find out if the medications you take, the foods you eat, or when in your life you gain weight give you a higher likelihood of developing and dying of cancer.
Next week, hundreds of residents from North Central Washington will become part of that national study. So far, 240 people have signed up to take the online survey, and show up for a 25-minute appointment, which includes a blood draw.
That’s still shy of the goal of 400 NCW participants, said Alpa Patel, principal investigator for the study.
Next week’s appointments are being scheduled on Tuesday in Omak, Wednesday and Thursday in Wenatchee, and Saturday in Twisp.
Nationwide, 280,000 people have volunteered, out of a goal of 300,000 participants. “We still have a little way to go, and obviously, going over our goal is always better,” Patel said.
Volunteers must have no personal history of cancer, and be between 30 and 65 years old.
Patel said one main focus of this study is to find out if any prescription medications can be tied to cancer. “As a country, we take a lot of medications for a lot of different reasons,” she said. This study could help people understand the overall risk of taking those medications, she said.
Patel said previous studies have also shown that people who are overweight or obese have a greater risk of developing 10 or more types of cancer. But research has not yet shown whether the chances are greater if you gain weight early in life. “Is that any different than having gained weight later in life? And what about someone who tends to carry that weight in their mid-section, as opposed to their hips and thighs?” she asked. “We continue to refine our understanding about what is important in obesity” as it relates to cancer, she said.
Patel said many people who are diagnosed with cancer want to know what caused it. This study hopes to help answer some of those questions, or at least provide more clues as to factors that may contribute to the likelihood.
The hereditary factor is another area being explored, she said. Since this is a long-term study, if new areas need to be explored, the Cancer Society can add questions to later surveys, she added.
Patel said many people who have participated in the cancer studies have found it rewarding. “Largely, we hear from individuals that this is something they can do for their children, or their grandchildren, or very broadly, for the next generation, because past generations came together and did this for us,” she said.
Some people also sign up in memory of someone they lost to cancer, or in support of someone struggling with it, she said.
The medical appointment includes a brief survey, a weight and mid-section measurement, and a small blood sample. At home, a more extensive survey takes about 45 minutes to complete.
“In total, it will take just over an hour of your time, and after that, about one hour every two or three years,” she said.