250 sought for cancer study

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

American Cancer Society representatives said they hope a minimum of 250 area residents will be among the 300,000 Americans who participate in a 20-to-30-year study of cancer.

Angela Davis, associate state vice president for the American Cancer Society, opened a presentation about Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS3) at PowerSouth Tuesday morning.

Davis said Covington County residents are among the select few who have the chance to participate and enroll in CPS3. Most of the people enrolled in the study live in urban areas.

“We were looking for corporations we already had strong partnerships with,” Davis said, adding that PowerSouth has long been a corporate partner.

Experience has proven that people enroll in the study because of personal relationships, and the ACS felt those relationships were in place here.

ACS’s Jeanie Mann said the first cancer prevention study, begun in the 1950s, determined the correlation between smoking and cancer, and led to the 1964 surgeon general’s warning about the effects of smoking.

CPS3 is unique in that it includes blood tests, and is designed to help researchers understand the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer. Ultimately, they hope the findings of the decades-long study will help save lives.

Mann said that those who enroll in the study will complete a comprehensive survey, expected to take about 45 minutes, about their health and family histories.

Then, on Nov. 13 and 14, they will have blood drawn at PowerSouth in scheduled appointments. Every two years for the next 20 to 30 years, participants will be asked to complete a new survey.

Participants who are diagnosed with cancer will be asked to contact the ACS, and researchers will look at their blood work and surveys differently, Mann said.

“We’ll be looking for causes of those cancers,” she said.

Client confidentiality is a priority, she said, adding that participants will be identified in the study by bar code, not name.

While PowerSouth is the ACS’s main partner in Covington County, others supporting the local effort include: Andalusia Regional Hospital, 21st Century Oncology, Sacred Heart Cancer Center, City of Andalusia, City of Florala, Covington Electric Cooperative, Southeast Alabama Gas District, and the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce.

To enroll, go to www.cps3covington.org.