As the American Cancer Society prepares to conduct a massive and historic nationwide research study, the organization is needing more local volunteers to become study participants.
Toward that end, the American Cancer Society (ACS) will be holding a Woodward County kickoff meeting for the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) this Thursday at Woodward Regional Hospital. The meeting will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the hospital's Community Room and lunch will be provided.
Terri Salisbury, who is the Woodward County CPS-3 volunteer chair, said the purpose of the kickoff event is "to recruit 'Community Champions' to go out and spread the word about the study."
These Community Champions can be "anyone who has an interest in helping prevent cancer," Salisbury said, explaining their job will be to help find and encourage people to enroll in the study.
Even those interested in enrolling themselves in the study are invited to attend the kickoff event.
"We need more people to get enrolled," Salisbury said.
She said officials are looking for around 15 Community Champions to help them get at least 125 people from the Woodward County area to sign up to participate in the CPS-3 study. Nationwide, ACS is looking for 300,000 study participants.
Only those people aged 30 to 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are eligible to participate in the study.
"It's a study to look at the environmental, genetic, or lifestyle factors that might cause or prevent cancer; the goal is to better understand those various factors," Salisbury said.
Data for the study will mainly be collected through a series of surveys conducted over the next 20 years, she said. As part of these surveys, study participants will answer questions about various possible cancer-related factors.
Initially study participants will also have a small amount of blood drawn and a waist measurement taken by ACS study officials, Salisbury said.
"But no tests will be run on the blood unless that person has a cancer diagnosis in the future," she said.
As the study continues, ACS officials will review research findings from those participants who develop cancer and those who don't "to see if there's any common factors," Salisbury said.
For example, the previous CPS-1 and CPS-2 studies helped officials determine that smoking and second-hand smoke are clearly linked to cancer.
As part of Thursday's CPS-3 kickoff, Salisbury said that Lisa Foster from the American Cancer Society will share more information about the upcoming study.
In addition, she said Gary Reavis will share his story as a cancer survivor and Kristen Mills, RN, will share what it's like to care for those with cancer.
Salisbury said Reavis' and Mills' stories will "help people realize the importance of continued study in the cancer field so we can help prevent what they've been through from happening to someone else."
While 2 similar studies were completed in the past, Salisbury said that societal changes in how we live may change how individuals are affected by cancer.
"Our technology, medicines, and lifestyles have changed so much in just the last generation and this study will look at current acts and lifestyles and what factors from those make people at risk for cancer or what factors might prevent cancer," she said.
Those wanting to attend Thursday's kickoff meeting are asked to RSVP by e-mailing Salisbury at email@example.com or by calling her at the Woodward County Health Department at (580) 256-6416. This registration is not required, she said, but is requested since lunch will be served during the meeting.
For those who are unable to attend the meeting, Salisbury said they can call her for more information or visit cancerstudyOK.org to learn more and even enroll for the study.
Eligible persons must enroll by Nov. 19 to participate in the study, as ACS officials will be in Woodward on Nov. 20 to collect the blood samples and initial data from study participants, Salisbury said.