Can cancer be prevented?
For 100 years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has not only acted as a resource for countless people who have fought personal battles against cancer, but has also supported important research into the causes and treatments of the disease.
Reaching back decades, the ACS was one of the first organizations to definitively link cigarette smoking to lung cancer. Their research also proved the relationship of obesity and the threat of certain cancers.
Now, the non-profit has launched a nationwide, multi-year research study — Cancer Prevention Study, or CPS-3 — that hopes to give researchers a better understanding of the causes of cancer, as well as ways to prevent it.
The researchers through the ACS Epidemiology Research Program are looking to enroll a minimum of 300,000 adult participants from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Participants will be between the ages of 30 and 65 and have no personal health history of cancer.
According to Dr. Ann Mauer, oncologist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, the study will provide a good glimpse into the national population. And, she says, the current CPS-II study group, recruited in 1992, is aging, making it necessary for researchers to enlist the next generation of study participants.
“The American Cancer Society has been conducting studies like this since the 1950s, so they have a lot of experience,” Dr. Mauer says. “Their research is an important tool for helping us further understand the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and various types of cancer. Just as with their findings on smoking and lung cancer, CPS-3 should provide information on ways we can further prevent cancer through behavior and lifestyle modification.”
The ACS is currently recruiting participants through its website, local hospitals and its Relay for Life events. Registration requires a one-time personal visit, where participants will answer a short survey, have their waist measured and provide a small, non-fasting blood sample. A more detailed survey is provided for completion at home and follow-up will take place periodically through online surveys.
“Many individuals diagnosed with cancer struggle to answer the question ‘What caused my cancer?’” says Alpa V. Patel, PhD, the principle investigator for the ambitious study. “In many cases, we don’t know the answer. 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. Mauer says information gleaned from such large studies can be invaluable to the future of cancer prevention and treatment.
“Cancer prevention studies, especially studies on this scale, definitely save lives,” Dr. Mauer says. “I’m certain that cancer survivors in my practice appreciate any effort made. Many would like to better understand steps that they can take to reduce their risk for future cancer.”
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.