Residents asked to participate in American Cancer Society study

Published 12:13am Sunday, June 23, 2013

NATCHEZ — Miss-Lou residents can battle cancer in more ways than simply participating in the annual Relay for Life event.

For the third time since the 1950s, the American Cancer Society is beginning a Cancer Prevention Study to discover unknown causes of cancer.

St. Mary Basilica and Isle of Capri Casino Hotel were chosen as host sites for the study, named CPS-3.

Previous Cancer Prevention Studies detailed tobacco’s direct link to cancer, and determined how factors such as obesity, air pollution, family history and diabetes affect cancer risk.

The third study offers those never diagnosed with cancer a chance to fight back against the deadly disease, cancer survivor and Miss-Lou event coordinator Charlene Rushing said.

Participants will fill out a series of questionnaires to complete the study. After 30 years, Rushing said data from the survey will be used to gather information about cancer’s causes.

“The Relay for Life has been very successful in the area,” Rushing said. “We raise lots of money, but don’t really get to take part in preventing cancer. This study offers an opportunity for us to actually take part in cancer prevention.”

Requirements to participate include:

  • Being between 30 and 65 years old
  • Never being diagnosed with cancer
  • Being willing to make a long-term commitment to the study

On Aug. 21 from 1 to 5 p.m., the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel will host initial consultations for the study. On Aug. 22 from 3 to 7 p.m., St. Mary Basilica will also host enrollment appointments.

Participants will sign a consent form, provide physical measurements, give a small blood sample and complete a brief written survey at the in-person enrollment.

After the in-person appointment, participants will receive short surveys in the mail every few years, Rushing said.

Those interested must also go to cps3southwestms.org to complete a comprehensive questionnaire and pick a time slot.

No limit exists on the amount of participants. However, the American Cancer Society hopes to enroll at least 300,000 people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds, according to its website.

The August appointments aren’t the only opportunity to get involved. Rushing said.

She said the Natchez Grand Hotel would host a kick-off event and informational session 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Natchez is one of five host sites in Southwest Mississippi. Other sites include: the Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center in McComb and the Lawrence County Hospital in Monticello.

“Because I survived, I think it is important to find out new ways to prevent it,” Rushing said. “Participants may not get anything out of it, but you can’t be in it for yourself. You have to participate for the community at large; it might be your child one day.”