Area residents have the chance to stand up to cancer as the American Cancer Society launches its third Cancer Prevention Study across America.
The study will gather data from cancer-free participants over a 20 to 30-year time period to look for links between cancer and participants’ lifestyles, environment, and more.
Anyone can participate and enrollment begins in March at nine locations throughout Mecklenburg County, including the Levine Senior Center in Matthews.
But right now the nonprofit needs “champions” – community members to serve as advocates for the study and pledge to recruit at least 10 participants.
Mint Hill Town Commissioner Tina Ross, a cancer survivor, has already agreed to be one of those “champions.”
Ross, who has been a cancer survivor since age 16, is committed to doing whatever she can to promote cancer awareness and assist the search for a cure and better treatment options.
“The more people that get involved, the greater chance we have of finding a cure or helping the life expectancy rate rise,” she said.
Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor also has pledged to be a “champion” and plans to promote the study through social media, special events, town meetings and anywhere else where he might have an audience. Matthews Town Manager Hazen Blodgett also has committed to recruit study participants.
“I’ve been involved with Relay For Life and other cancer activities, and I think this is a wonderful cause,” Taylor said. “Anything we can try to do to promote research or cure cancer … we should do.”
For the free study, organizers will need men and women between the ages of 30 and 65. Participants can’t be cancer survivors.
At the enrollment sites, participants will provide a waist measurement, give a small blood sample and complete a comprehensive survey. Participants also will be asked to fill out a follow-up survey every two to three years.
“This is really crucial for future generations that we get everybody involved (who meets) the criteria,” said Blair Lindley, Mecklenburg County’s Relay For Life community manager for the American Cancer Society. “There’s no fee required (to participate), no fundraising required. It’s just a 30-minute doctor’s visit and survey. There’s not a lot involved, so it’s basically just a commitment.”
Lindley said past prevention studies linked nutrition to some forms of cancer and methods of preventing cancer, as well as found a correlation between second-hand smoke and lung cancer. She said the studies don’t typically look for specific things. Instead, researchers ask vague questions and let the data gathered serve as the pathway to discovery.
The Levine Senior Center enrollment site will be open March 12, a Tuesday, from 4 to 8 p.m. and March 14, a Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lindley’s hoping to see a lot of participation from the Matthews and Mint Hill communities.
“During those two days, I’d love to see an enrollment of 100 to 150 people for this particular study,” she said.
Want to help?
To volunteer to become a “champion” for the American Cancer Society’s upcoming cancer prevention study, call Blair Lindley at 704-553-5364 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Enrollment for participation in the study will be held in March at the Levine Senior Center in Matthews.