Providers, Encourage Your Healthy Patients
Dr. Nancy Peacock
It’s common knowledge today that smoking, poor diet and obesity are linked to cancer. That connection and others were made thanks in no small measure to a series of cancer prevention studies ongoing for decades. Now it’s time for Middle Tennesseans to do their part for this research by volunteering to participate in the groundbreaking Cancer Prevention Study-3, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
CPS-3 is actually the fourth such cancer study to follow a large cohort of participants over many years. First was the Hammond-Horn Study, followed by CPS-I and CPS-II. From 1952 to 1955, Hammond-Horn examined the effects of cigarette smoking on male death rates from cancer and other diseases. CPS-I, from 1959 to 1972, delved deeper into tobacco use and addressed other exposures. CPS-II, launched in 1983 and ongoing, is following 1.2 million subjects over 20 years to examine an even wider range of environmental and lifestyle exposures. CPS-II also includes a nutrition cohort.
CPS-3 promises to be the most comprehensive yet, and researchers hope to recruit 500,000 subjects nationwide. Nancy Peacock, MD, medical oncologist with Baptist Hospital and committee chair for the Saint Thomas Health Cancer Network, said 5,000 to 6,000 CPS-3 participants recruited in the Nashville region would be a “huge success.” Participation is easy and enrollment is available at 13 area locations: Saint Thomas Health (Saint Thomas Hospital, Baptist Hospital and Middle Tennessee Medical Center), YMCA of Middle Tennessee and the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center.
CPS-3 needs selfless individuals willing to volunteer a little of their time to help 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 schedule an enrollment appointment, visit cps3nashville.org. A confirmation email will provide instructions on how to complete a comprehensive online survey. The survey, which will ask about medications, family history of cancer, lifestyle and other behaviors, shouldn’t take more than an hour to complete.
Then, participants must go to an appointment in July, when they will complete another brief survey, have their waist circumference measured and provide a small blood sample taken by a certified, trained phlebotomist. Participants then will be contacted about every two years, just to fill out a follow-up questionnaire. And that’s it.
Thanks to studies such as CPS-3 and to volunteers … who won’t receive anything in return but just might help prevent or treat cancer in a grandchild … researchers might be able to better target cancer therapies.
The blood sample is a first for the cancer prevention studies. “Asking these healthy volunteers to have a sample of blood drawn allows researchers to look at their DNA later on down the road. They’ll be running their genome to see if they can see any patterns in cancers that develop as a result of certain dietary habits or certain exercise habits, for example,” Peacock explained. “It’s a lifestyle and gene interaction study.”
Peacock said the awareness and cooperation of providers goes a long way toward participant-recruitment success. Physicians who identify a patient who would be a strong candidate should encourage his or her participation, she said.