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Toni Atkins urges community to enroll in major cancer-prevention study

SAN DIEGO – California Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins is invited our community to change the future and defeat cancer by enrolling in a novel cancer prevention study.

Atkins made her appointment to enroll last week in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3), and urges others to follow her lead.

“This was an easy decision,” Atkins said. “I know what a toll cancer has taken on our community and in my own family and circle of friends. Enrolling in this prevention study is simple – it took about 10 minutes to register online for my appointment and I look forward to being a part of this national study. We will learn so much from CPS-3.”

San Diego County residents 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 the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3).

A simple, yet long-term commitment to this important study will impact our understanding of the disease and address a current lack of cancer-related data about LGBT individuals. It is a fact that members of our community are at increased risk of certain types of cancer, but participation in this study will shed more light on why.

Anyone who meets the criteria may make an appointment to enroll at one of a dozen sites across the county, from March 10 to 23.

The San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest will host an enrollment site on March 16, from 10 am to 2 pm. Appointments can be made by visiting HERE or by calling toll-free 1-888-604-5888.

To enroll in the study, individuals make an appointment to go to a local enrollment location. There they 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 20 to 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, the society will continue to 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 of 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. 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.”

Researchers will use the data from CPS-3 to build on evidence from a series of American Cancer Society studies that began in the 1950s that collectively have involved millions of volunteer participants.

The Hammond-Horn Study and previous Cancer Prevention Studies (CPS-I, and CPS-II) have 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.

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 this (CPS-3) is part of the answer,” one study participant said.

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 San Diego County to join this effort that we know will save lives and improve the outlook for future generations,” Dr. Patel said.