Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat — Natchez resident Missy Rentfro has blood drawn for the American Cancer Society’s third cancer prevention study investigating causes of cancer at the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Wednesday. St. Mary Basilica host a portion of the study today beginning at 3 p.m.
Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat — Natchez resident Missy Rentfro has blood drawn for the American Cancer Society’s third cancer prevention study investigating causes of cancer at the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Wednesday. St. Mary Basilica host a portion of the study today beginning at 3 p.m.

Finding the answers: Cancer Society hosts prevention study

Published 12:01am Thursday, August 22, 2013

NATCHEZ — Roy Strong drove 344 miles Wednesday to help create a world with more birthdays.

Strong, a Raleigh resident, was one of nearly 45 people who participated in the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study, nicknamed CPS-3, which offers those never diagnosed with cancer a chance to fight back against the deadly disease.

“I heard about this program and thought I’d drive down to help out,” Strong said. “I don’t mind one bit driving all this way if it will help.”

The study is the third such conducted since the 1950s. The previous studies detailed tobacco’s direct link to cancer and determined how factors such as obesity, family history and diabetes affect cancer risk.

Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat — Ferriday resident Hazel Hawkins, right, has blood drawn by Kathy Hazlip for the study.
Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat — Ferriday resident Hazel Hawkins, right, has blood drawn by Kathy Hazlip for the study.

Lillie Willis, a health initiative representative with the ACS, said the current study would examine things such as people’s behaviors, lifestyles and even the medication they take in hopes of linking those things to what causes cancer.

“If we know what causes cancer, we can prevent cancer, and that’s what this is all about,” Willis said. “We’ve produced lists of things from the previous studies that came out and saved untold number of lives.”

At the initial consultations Wednesday, volunteers measured participant’s waists and obtained a small vial of blood from each participant.

The blood sample was the only part of the process Ferriday resident Hazel Hawkins was concerned about.

“I’m not a big fan of needles,” Hawkins said, laughing. “But I’ll do anything I can to help out the cancer society.”

Willis said blood samples would only be analyzed if a participant dies or is diagnosed with cancer. The blood will not be analyzed for participants who remain healthy.

“They will stay locked up away in a vault for full disclosure purposes,” Willis said. “So people don’t have to worry about their information being shared.”

Janis Holder, who is the Relay for Life of the Miss-Lou accounting chair, was one of several volunteers helping at the study Wednesday and said she was pleased with the turnout.

“I want people to know that this is their Relay donations at work,” Holder said. “This study is one of the many things that their donations are helping to fund.”

The study will continue from 3 to 7 p.m. today at St. Mary Basillica, which is located at 107 S. Union St.

Requirements to participate in the study include:

• Being between 30 and 65 years old.

• Never diagnosed with cancer.

• Being willing to complete a survey every couple years.

To sign up, participants can visit cps3southwestms.org, fill out information and pick a time slot, or they can walk in and fill out the same basic information in person.

“Walk-ins are more than welcome, and we ask that people bring a friend, too,” Willis said. “It doesn’t cost anything to help make a difference.”