By Kim Walter
The American Cancer Society is hosting a Cancer Prevention Study-3 kickoff event in Middletown at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Participation in the event will give area residents an historic opportunity to get involved in the fight against cancer, according to Tim Grove, local community manager.
The first cancer prevention study, done in the 1950s, was able to make the connection between smoking and lung cancer. The second study, conducted years later, showed links between heart disease, obesity and death rates from cancer.
This study will be a bit different from the first two in that it is a long-term study to take place over the next 20 or 30 years.
CPS-3 will help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.
"People often ask, 'Why did I get cancer?' or 'Why didn't I get cancer?'" Grove said. "Hopefully, this study will help answer those questions and save even more lives than ever before."
During the kickoff program, held at Grace United Methodist Church, volunteers will be presented with all the information they will need to know to help educate the community about the study. Additionally, enrollment times, dates and locations in Warren, Shenandoah and Frederick counties will be reviewed.
Grove said anyone can participate as a promoter, whether they are a cancer survivor or not.
"We're really looking for people in the area who are interested in promoting the study to coworkers, folks at their church, fellow members of civic organizations ... anyone they can talk to about it," he said.
Depending on where the interested promoters are coming from, they will get an information packet specific to their county.
The American Cancer Society chapter in Winchester is hoping to recruit around 500 people to enroll in the study. Overall, the study hopes to look at 300,000 people.
Men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 years who have never been diagnosed with cancer are being asked to enroll in the study.
Enrollment will take place in November at several locations in Winchester, Front Royal and Woodstock. An appointment is required.
During the appointment, which should last between 20 and 30 minutes, participants will be asked to sign an informed consent form, complete a brief survey, and provide a waist circumference measurement as well as a small blood sample.
Following enrollment, those involved will receive mailed surveys at home every few years in order to update their information.
There will be no cost to participate.
While people can get more information on enrolling in the study, Thursday's event will focus on getting educational and promotional material to recruiters. Registration and refreshments will be available from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and the presentation will go until 7:30 p.m..
"This is a very unique opportunity for valley residents to join the fight to end cancer," Grove said. "I hope anyone even slightly interested in either promoting or enrolling in the study will come out to learn more."
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or firstname.lastname@example.org