Cancer study looking for local participants
St. Croix County Jail Capt. Karen Humphrey believes in the mission of the American Cancer Society and that is why she wants her Hudson area friends, family and community members to participate in ACS Cancer Prevention Study 3.
Humphrey spoke last week at a breakfast meeting hosted by Hudson Hospital who is also joining the effort to recruit several hundred local people for the study. The hope is to get 300,000 people from 32 states to participate.
Humphrey has been involved in the Relay For Life ever since her late brother John was diagnosed with testicular cancer and has also been active in ACS, now as a member of the their Midwest Board of Directors. She told the gathering that previous cancer prevention studies have been instrumental to research that has led to increased cancer survival rates through early detection and treatment.
The nationwide cancer study is designed to help researchers understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.
The study is set to begin this fall.
The goal is to enroll more than 210 participants for the study in St. Croix County beginning in September. Men and women wishing to participate in the study must be between the ages of 30 and 65 and never have been diagnosed with cancer, other than basal or squamous cell skin cancer.
To enroll, individuals provide a waist measurement, give a small blood sample and complete both a baseline and enrollment survey. Over the course of the study, participants will be asked to fill out follow-up surveys every few years for the next 20-30 years. No other in-person appointments are required. Participants do not need to live in St. Croix County to enroll.
Humphrey stressed that while the study is long term, 20-30 years, time spent as a participant is minimal. Pre-enrollment can be done online and takes only about 25-30 minutes and includes setting up an appointment for a blood draw and waist measurement on either Sept. 11 at Hudson Hospital or Sept. 12 at the St. Croix County Government Center.
Matt Flory, the ACS director of healthcare partnerships, said that all information gathered for the study is confidential, encrypted and is not shared with any insurance company or other organizations. There are no specific plans to use the samples at this point, but Flory said new research discoveries are being made all the time and a bank of 300,000 blood samples could be invaluable to developing tests for or treatment of cancer.
Participants in the study will be sent annual newsletters from ACS to inform them about the on-going research in the cancer prevention studies.
Previous ACS cancer prevention studies have led to the linkage of tobacco use to lung cancer and the impact of secondhand smoke that led to warnings on cigarette packs, the debunking of false information from the tobacco industry and the passage of smoke-free laws. They have also led to the connection between obesity and the risk of cancer as well as to more information about the link between aspirin use and a lower risk of colon cancer and the impact of air pollution on increased death rates from heart and lung conditions.
The new study will explore how changes in environment, lifestyle and new scientific technology are impacting cancer and survival. The study will continue to track the impact of smoking and obesity and will also create a national resource for this information.
Humphrey said, "The goal is to find a cure so no one else has to die like my brother. It can't help my brother or maybe even me. But it can make all the difference for the generations that come behind us.