Cancer study looking for participants

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 14, 2012

For someone watching a loved one fight cancer, there can be a feeling of powerlessness.

“You feel a lot of times that you’re just stuck sitting by and watching,” said City Councilman John Caron.

He should know — next year, both of his parents will celebrate 10 years of cancer survivorship.

Eight years ago, Caron decided to fight that feeling by joining the St. Clair Shores Relay for Life. He chaired the St. Clair Shores event from 2008 to 2010.

This year, though, he announced that the American Cancer Society will be giving another way to fight the disease to those who want to help: signing up for the third Cancer Prevention Study (CPS3) at the May 31-June 1 24-hour event at Blossom Heath Park.

“What excited me about the cancer-prevention study was that this is something that people who are not affected by cancer, they can go out and do something,” Caron said. “This is something you can do yourself … to fight back against cancer.”

The first Cancer Prevention Study, which began in 1959, had its basis in a 1952 study that initially set out to show there was no link between cigarette smoking and cancer. Instead, that study uncovered a link between the two and morphed into the first Cancer Prevention Study, which aimed to discover the lifestyles that increase or decrease the risk of cancer.

The second Cancer Prevention Study (CPS2) began in 1982 and eventually showed a link between obesity and cancer. The studies are not short-term — those interested in signing up will be making a 20-30 year commitment to the research.

Caron said that those between the ages of 30 and 65 who have not been affected by cancer are eligible to enroll. Nationally, they’re looking for about 300,000 people to take part in the study. This is the last year that participants will be enrolled.

“Enrollment will actually be taking place on the evening of May 31,” Caron said. Those interested will have their eligibility confirmed, fill out a short survey, have their waist measured and give a blood sample.

Caron said more information on how to sign up to be a participant would be announced closer to when the 2013 Relay for Life of St. Clair Shores kicks off in February.

Caryn Lorentz, CPS3 Specialist with the American Cancer Society, said all future contact would be through the mail or online, where participants could fill out future surveys.

She said they choose only large, well-established and well-run relay events around the country to host the study sign-up.

“It’s kind of a big honor for a relay event,” she said.

Lorentz said they’re looking to sign up a diverse group of people, and the study is especially in need of men to take part.

“We’re actually looking for ways to prevent cancer … studying folks who have never had cancer. We’re looking at lifestyles, genetics, environment, so we’re taking it a little bit farther than we have in the past,” she said.

The blood samples will be frozen and then, in the future, if a certain group of people with similar qualities end up diagnosed with cancer, the blood will be studied to see if there are genetic markers or other indicators pointing to the disease.

Caron said he’d love to find a St. Clair Shores resident who participated in CPS2 to “be able to share your experiences in order to help recruit people,” he said.

“We’d love to have your help in promoting CPS3.”