New study aims at preventing cancer

Jennifer Washney registers Donna Conklin of South Jackson for a new cancer prevention study at the kick-off event Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

BY PAT FARNELLI

“If you could create a world without cancer…with more birthdays, would you?” asks a voice in a powerpoint presentation.

“You can make the world healthier.”

The goal of Cancer Prevention Study 3, or CP-3, is to find people willing to join the movement for less cancer and more birthdays, said Jennifer Washney, Community Cancer Control Specialist of the American Cancer Society.

Washney is looking for 100 volunteers to participate in the national study, which will be following men and women who have not been diagnosed with cancer, for the next 20-30 years.

The kick-off for the new study was held in Montrose on Wednesday at the ACS headquarters on Route 706, next to the driver’s license center.

At the event, cancer society volunteers signed up volunteers for appointments to enroll in the study on Friday, Mar. 1, during the Dairy Day celebration at Elk Lake School. During the Dairy Day enrollment event, volunteers between the ages of 30 and 65 will complete a short survey, and a waist measurement and blood sample will be taken by a certified phlebotomist. These will be stored for future reference: the blood will actually be frozen and only tested in the event that one of the participants is later diagnosed with cancer.

The next part of enrollment takes place at home, where participants will complete a detailed survey including information on lifestyle, behavioral and other factors related to your health. Periodically, a short survey will be mailed to participants so that they can update that information.

During the sign-up Wednesday, five volunteers signed up for the study.  One said that she had lost her mother and two sisters to cancer.

The next to sign up was Donna Conklin, whose husband found out that he had leukemia in 2008. The following years have been a learning experience, she said.

“I would like to do something that might make a difference, so that someone might not have to be told they have cancer,” she said. “As a spouse, I know how it feels, and I don’t want anyone to have to go through this.”

Another participant in the study said that if you have a friend or family member diagnosed with cancer, one of the hardest things is feeling like you can’t do anything to help. “This is something we can do to help fight against this disease,” she said

Bonnie Morgan attended to support the study, but is unable to participate because she is a two-time breast cancer survivor. “I was given five years to live the last time, but it has been 10,” she said.

Evie Goff of the American Dairy Association provided strawberry ice cream to attendees, and Callie Curley of Montrose, the Pennsylvania Alternate Dairy Princess, served the refreshments, along with two Dairy Ambassadors from the county dairy court.

Anyone wishing to enroll in the study can do so at www.nepacps3.org, or find out more about the American Cancer Society at cancer.org/cps3 or by calling (toll-free) at 1-888-604-5888. Anyone recently diagnosed with cancer can call the Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.