LAWRENCEVILLE - In the 1950s American Cancer Society researchers linked lung cancer to smoking and a second study beginning in the 1980s tied obesity to cancer.
Now, the American Cancer Society is launching a third study that will help researchers make more discoveries like these - and it's starting in Gwinnett.
As part of a cancer research project called Cancer Prevention Study 3, employees with the ACS are enlisting Gwinnett residents and those in surrounding areas to participate in a study that will focus on lifestyle, behavior, environmental and gene factors that may be linked to cancer.
Judy Smith, mission delivery manager for the American Cancer Society in Duluth, said Cancer Society researchers are looking for men and women 30 to 65 years old from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds who have never had cancer to participate in the study.
Those who participate must commit to completing a mailed survey every two years during the course of the research period, which is expected to continue for 20 to 30 years.
Smith said interested men and women can sign up to participate in the study from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m. May 11 at the ACS Relay for Life event at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds. Here, study participants will complete the registration process by completing a brief written survey, provide waist measurements and give a blood sample. The information will be used as part of the study to one day discover what factors may cause certain types of cancer.
"These people will be sent a questionnaire every two years," Smith said. "And that survey will ask about health conditions, current life and lifestyle, and that information will be recorded." No other blood tests or requirements are needed other than the mail surveys, Smith added.
ACS Gwinnett County Area Director Randy Redner said the society is looking for more than 1,000 people to sign up for the study at Relay for Life. Redner said those looking to sign up do not have preregister or be signed up for the Relay - anyone meeting the study requirements can register at the fairgrounds location.
Redner said the men and women who sign up will be added to the 500,000 total needed for the nationwide cancer study.
CPS3 Coordinator for the South Atlantic Division Shammara Steinback said volunteers for the study will be sought out nationwide over a five-year period, but study participants become a part of the research the day of sign-up.
Steinback said a packet will be mailed within the first or second month after registration to confirm each person's participation. Surveys will then be mailed to the person's home every two years afterward for the life of the study - about 20 to 30 years.
"We are expecting Gwinnett County to be one of the largest enrollment sites," Steinback said. "And Gwinnett is the fourth county to start enrollment for the nationwide study."
For more information about CPS3, visit www.cancer.org or call 1-800-ACS-2345.