Recruiters for the American Cancer Society’s third Cancer Prevention Study will visit Tooele next month in response to a high level of interest by locals who want to participate.
The American Cancer Society started recruiting participants in Salt Lake Valley for the study last year. While doing so it received a number of complaints from local individuals who said they would like to participate, but could not because they were unable to travel to Salt Lake for the requisite processing appointment.
In response, the study opened several new sites for registering this year, including Cache Valley, St. George and Tooele, said Lex Olsen, the study’s program director for the state of Utah.
The study, a large-scale, longitudinal operation designed to find similarities between populations that develop cancer, is the third study of its kind.
The first two, the earliest of which began in the 1950s, were responsible for identifying well-known risk factors such as smoking, air pollution, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. The current study, which will officially begin when enrollment ends this year and continue for 20 to 30 years, will target genetic, behavioral and lifestyle commonalties, Olsen said.
The study aims to recruit 300,000 nation-wide participants — a notably smaller number than the past two cancer prevention studies, which each included more than one million participants.
However, Olsen said that unlike past studies, the new study will require a single, one-time blood sample from all participants at an initial processing appointment during the first year. Subsequently, participants will only be expected to fill out a survey, which will go out to participants every few years.
Participants are not compensated, but do receive regular newsletters to keep them up-to-date on any conclusions the American Cancer Society may draw from the study as it progresses. However, Olsen said many participants, including himself, enroll because cancer has impacted their personal life in some way or another and because they desire an active role in fighting the disease.
“It’s kind of fun, because you get to not only participate, but hear stories of why other people participate, why they are making it personal,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of people in my family pass away from cancer. I don’t want my kids and grandkids to go through that.”
To be eligible to participate, individuals must be between the ages of 30 to 65, or within six months of those ages. They must also have no personal history of cancer, and must be willing to commit to participate for the entire duration of the study. Those who are not eligible are still encouraged to promote the study and encourage their family and friends to participate.
“They can be a great advocate, a great voice,” said Olsen.
Those interested in registering should complete an online application at cancer.org/cps3, and through it schedule a convenient appointment. Appointments will be available from Oct. 22 to 24 to take blood samples and preliminary information from participants at the county health department and Mountain West Medical Center.
Olsen said those who wish to participate should sign up as early as possible, because the number of available appointments is limited.