HOUSTON—Janie Taylor is one of the 14 million people diagnosed each year with cancer. She’s fought it successfully for 22 years. But she’s asking for 700 more Houstonians to join her in the fight.
“Without the research there’s no way I would still be here today,” said Taylor who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 30. Treatment put her in remission for 12 years. But it came back as stage-4 cancer 10 years ago and a regimen of chemo and treatments are still giving her a fighting chance.
“I just decided I had to fight. I had to fight to stay alive for them,” she said of her children.
Now the American Cancer Society is looking for cancer-free volunteers to help the next generation avoid this life and death struggle. The ACS is looking for male and female volunteers of all races between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer. They are seeking to enroll 300,000 people across the United States, 1,400 of those in Houston. As of this writing they just need 700 more.
People interested in participating can schedule an appointment at www.CancerStudyGH.org. The YMCA of Greater Houston and several other organizations are providing 19 enrollment locations throughout the area May 11 through June 2nd.
Enrollment consists of a brief survey, waist-size measurement and a small blood sample. Participants will then receive periodic follow-up surveys over the next two decades. The studies will focus on lifestyles, environmental factors, and genetics to help determine why some people get cancer and others don’t.
Jennifer Walker, an American Cancer Society employee, is one of the Houston enrollees.
“I am enrolling because I lost my dad two years ago to glioblastoma, brain cancer,” Walker said. “So this generation is hopefully going to help us find out what is putting us at risk, what’s causing cancer, but more importantly how to prevent it.”
“So for that small amount of time you could be saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Not just strangers, but your own family,” said Taylor.
Researchers will use the data to build on evidence from previous similar cancer prevention studies. The American Cancer Society says three previous efforts (The Hammond-Horn Study and 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 a link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer and showed a link between larger waist sizes and increased death rates from cancer.
“We have an amazing opportunity here in Houston to enroll thousands of men and women of all backgrounds in this landmark CPS-3 study,” said Betti Guzman, the American Cancer Society’s vice president for the Gulf Coast Region. “CPS-3 is our gift to the next generation, a life-saving gift to our friends and families, our children and grandchildren. The findings of CPS-3 will change the face of cancer for generations to come and provide fresh insight into cancer risks, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. I urge everyone in Houston, and the surrounding communities to get involved in this study and to help most us (move) closer to the day that cancer is a thing of the past.”