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Community Involvement Can Answer Critical Questions about Causes and Prevention

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Residents of Essex County have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in a historic study that has the potential to change the face of cancer for future generations. Men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer are needed to participate in “CPS-3”, the American Cancer Society’s nationwide Cancer Prevention Study. CPS-3 will enroll a diverse population of up to half a million people across the United States and Puerto Rico. (Please note: those who have had a diagnosis of basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma are eligible to participate in CPS-3.)

 Enrollment opportunities in Essex County will begin on Sunday, October 21st from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk at Military Park, Newark. Additional enrollment opportunities will take place between Tuesday, October 23rd and Sunday, October 28th. Locations include Newark YMCA on Broad Street, UMDNJ Cancer Center, St. James AME Church, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, and St. Michael’s Medical Center.

Although CPS-3 is a large-scale study, participation from local residents is crucial. In Essex County alone, 69 individuals are diagnosed with cancer each week, and 27 will die from from the disease. This equals approximately 1,405 deaths per year right here in our community.

CPS-3 will help researchers better understand the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer. “My mom is a two-time cancer survivor and I’m doing all I can to make sure my children don’t have to say that…. I really believe CPS-3 is part of the answer,” stated one study participant.

To enroll in the study, individuals will go to a local enrollment location and will be asked to read and sign an informed consent form; complete a brief survey, have their waist circumference measured; and give a small blood sample. The in-person enrollment process takes approximately 20 - 30 minutes to complete. At home, individuals will complete a comprehensive survey packet that asks for information on lifestyle, behavioral, and other factors related to their health. Upon completion of this process, ACS will send periodic follow-up surveys to update participant information and annual newsletters with study updates and results. The initial and follow-up surveys completed at home will take an hour or less time to complete and are expected to be sent every few years. 

“Many individuals diagnosed with cancer struggle to answer the question, ‘What caused my cancer?’ In many cases, we don’t know the answer,” said Alpa V. Patel, Ph.D., principal investigator of CPS-3. “CPS-3 will help us better understand what factors cause cancer, and once we know that, we can be better equipped to prevent cancer.” Dr. Patel added, “Our previous cancer prevention studies have been instrumental in helping us identify some of the major factors that can affect cancer risk. CPS-3 holds the best hope of identifying new and emerging cancer risks, and we can only do this if members of the community are willing to become involved.”

American Cancer Society researchers will use data from CPS-3 to build on evidence from a series of studies that began in the 1950s.  The Hammond-Horn Study and previous Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I, and CPS-II) have collectively involved millions of volunteer participants.

These previous studies played a major role in understanding cancer prevention and risk, and have contributed significantly to the scientific basis and development of public health guidelines and recommendations. Those studies confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, demonstrated the link between larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes, and showed the considerable impact of air pollution on heart and lung conditions. The current study, CPS-II, began in 1982 and is still ongoing. But changes in lifestyle and in the understanding of cancer in the more than two decades since its launch make it important to begin a new study.

The voluntary, long-term commitment by participants is what will produce benefits for decades to come. “Taking an hour or so every few years to fill out a survey – and potentially save someone from being diagnosed with cancer in the future - is a commitment that thousands of volunteer participants have already made. We're looking for more like-minded individuals in New Jersey to join this effort that we know will save lives and improve the outlook for future generations,” said Dr. Patel.

For general information about CPS-3, contact Arielle Dance at the American Cancer Society at 1-888-604-5888,  email arielle.dance@cancer.org . Specific information on registering in Essex County can be accessed by visiting www.cps3newark.org .

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