The American Cancer Society is trying to recruit 700 volunteers throughout Fairfax County to participate in a long-range cancer prevention study.
Cancer Prevention Study 3, or CPS-3, is a nationwide study designed to look at health and environmental factors that may lead to cancer, collecting information that can be used to support other cancer research, said Robert Paschen, an American Cancer Society spokesman.
“We need local geographical representation in the data … so scientists can have the best data possible,” he said.
Volunteers must be between the ages of 30 and 65 and have never been diagnosed with cancer. The initial screening includes a small blood sample, waist measurement and a short questionnaire. Participants will then receive follow-up questionnaires about every two years to monitor lifestyle changes and health outcomes.
The surveys are anonymous and will not be linked to an individual, Paschen said.
The initial screening will only take about 20 minutes, according to Paschen, because volunteers will schedule a specific appointment time at one of seven locations around the county.
“Twenty minutes of your time could save a life, and could probably save a lot of lives,” he said.
Past large-scale studies by the American Cancer Society have supported the work of more than 500 other cancer studies, Paschen said.
“Now that we know so much more about cancer than we did, this data will allow scientists to stand on the shoulders of past efforts,” he said.
Town of Vienna Mayor Jane Seeman is encouraging local residents to participate and is serving as a local spokeswoman for the effort. Seeman is a breast cancer survivor and was recently diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. She emphasized the importance of early detection and screening, as well.
“I think you just have to be aware of what’s going on with your body and what’s not right,” she said. “And seek treatment. It’s out there and it’s gotten a lot better.