Residents offered chance to participate in cancer study

Published 12:01am Monday, August 19, 2013

NATCHEZ — Miss-Lou residents have an opportunity to participate in a special American Cancer Society study on Wednesday for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Natchez is a host-site for the American Cancer Society’s third Cancer Prevention Study. The studies are specifically designed to investigate causes of cancer.

The first study, launched in 1952, directly linked cigarette smoking to cancer. The second study began in 1982 and is ongoing, but focuses on finding links between lifestyle choices and cancer. The third study will also examine lifestyle choices, but was created to obtain more up-to-date data.

The study begins at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel. St. Mary Basilica will also host a portion of the study, beginning at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Requirements to participate include:

  • Being between 30 and 65 years old.
  • Never diagnosed with cancer.
  • Being willing to complete a survey every couple years.

Currently 110 people have signed up to participate in Natchez, but event co-chair Bennie Boone said she is looking for at least 200 participants.

“I think people would be hard-pressed to find someone in their circle of acquaintances that hasn’t been affected in some way by cancer,” Boone said. “We are happy where we are currently at, but we don’t want to stop at 110.”

She said the American Cancer Society expects at least 500 people to participate in the South West Mississippi Region.

Those interested can sign up by going to cps3.southwestms.org.

Online signups require participants to fill out a survey, provide basic measurements — such as height and weight — and schedule an appointment time.

Boone said walk-ins are also welcome, but are still required to fill out the initial survey.

At the initial consultation, participants will have his or her waist measured and give a small vial of blood. Afterward, participants will receive a survey in the mail every two to three years for approximately 30 years.

If a participant dies or is diagnosed with cancer, Boone said his or her blood would be analyzed. Blood will not be analyzed for participants who remain healthy, she said.

“Researchers are specifically looking for genetic and environmental factors that may contribute to cancer,” she said.